Friday, March 31, 2006

A Marine in Need

Valour-IT has been working closely with the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH). Through our MOPH contact, we recently identified a wounded Marine whom we thought could benefit from a Valour-IT laptop. Unfortunately, his voice is too weak to use it effectively at this time.

This Marine has had a very, very rough time. His wife divorced him after he was wounded, and he is not recovered enough to live unassisted so he is a patient alone at the VA hospital. MOPH volunteers have developed a relationship with him, but he's in a very tough situation. He needs all the support and encouragement he can get.

The contact says that something as simple as the gift of a hat brought him great joy. He loves anything related to Nascar, so that's a great way we can show him he's loved and remembered. If you would like to send him some NASCAR posters, model cars, memorabilia, etc., please email. Perhaps there's even someone out there with some contacts in the NASCAR world...

Let's see what we can do for this dear Marine!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Why Valour-IT?

Just read this amazing column by a wounded Marine. It reminded me of one reason why Valour-IT is so powerful--its ability to connect a wounded warrior with his brothers in arms and others who understand where he's coming from and what he's going through.

LtCol. Tim Maxwell writes today in the L.A. Times about how the wounded worry about those they left behind on the battlefield when they are evacuated:

But when they are wounded, they have lost control. They are off the "A" team. All their friends will tell them, as they board the helicopter to fly away, to take care of themselves. Not to worry about the team. They'll be OK. But they want to be back with their team.

It is hard to talk about the injury itself. The guilt that comes from leaving your team in the combat zone. The frustration.
He also discusses how important communicating with other wounded warriors is during recovery. Those requiring long-term recuperation are often sent home and no longer have extensive contact with fellow wounded (the Marine Corps is unique in its creation of the Wounded Warrior Barracks). This is where Valour-IT can continue to help, by keeping the severely wounded connected with those who understand:
When you're in the hospital, your morale is OK. You are with other wounded warriors. You can chat about it. Sometimes we just look at each other in the hallway, and nod. That's all. Acknowledgment.

But once you are out of the hospital, it's tough. It sounds great on the day you leave. But there's irritation, frustration.

"Why is it taking so long to learn how to walk (read/see/eat/ …) again?" "Where is my team? How are they doing? Will I make it back to them in Iraq?" "Will my dang leg be good to go at least for the next deployment?"

We can do it. Deal with it. But it is a heck of a lot easier when you are with a teammate.
Project Valour-IT is once again scraping the bottom of the financial barrel. Over the weekend we had a soldier with nerve damage in one hand request a laptop. That soldier is now on a waiting list. You know what to do...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Yale and Valour-IT, Update

[Update: Clinton Taylor's original column about directing donations away from Yale and toward troop support charities is getting a lot of attention. Today in the WSJ's Opinion Journal, John Fund looks into Yale's response.]

Last Wednesday I pointed out that Clinton Taylor had mentioned Valour-IT in a column on and that he would be trying to highlight Valour-IT during his appearance on Fox News last Thursday. His column had encouraged Yale alumni to donate to Valour-IT and four other charities rather than Yale, in protest of Yale's recent acceptance of a former Taliban spokesman as a student.

I sent Mr. Taylor an email last week, thanking him for endorsing Valour-IT in his column, and telling him how his endorsement had directly led to at least one major donation.

Today he wrote a follow-up column, mentioning Valour-IT again and quoting my email:

Among the scores of blistering e-mails we’ve received, three stand out. Let’s call them: the good, the great, and the ugly. [snip]

The Great was from one of the charities that we recommended in our column as an alternative to building Yale’s $15 billion-and-change endowment: ProjectValour-IT, which provides voice-activated laptops for hospitalized soldiers:
Directly inspired by your endorsement, a company in North Carolina would now like to donate some rebuilt laptops to us. Money has been rather tight recently, so the laptops are particularly welcome and valuable to our efforts at this time.
As Patti Bader said when I told her about it, "That is wonderful!" It definitely is. Repeatedly putting Valour-IT's name in front of ticked off Yale alumni who are being encouraged to send their money elsewhere is definitely a good thing! A huge "thank you" goes out again to Clinton Taylor for his support.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Yale and Valour-IT?

Update: Clinton Taylor is expected to be on Fox News tomorrow (Thursday) at 7:50 a.m. He has said he will try to mention Valour-IT specifically. Of course cable TV news is very fluid, so depending on how the segment is structured (interview, debate, etc.), he may not have the opportunity to work it in. But he is very generous to make the attempt.

Yes, there is a connection...

Yale University recently successully recruited a former Taliban spokesman to their campus. Not surprisingly, this has created quite an uproar in some circles. Columnist and Yale alumnus Clinton W. Taylor has suggested a constructive response, encouraging people associated with the university to share their thoughts on the subject:

Feel free to point out the hyprocrisy of Yale’s decision to admit Sayeed Rahmatullah Hashemi, who supported a regime that killed homosexuals, stoned women, tortured/killed many, and destroyed Buddhas, even though Yale keeps ROTC off campus and files briefs with the Supreme Court protesting the military’s right to recruit on campus.

Most importantly, send your money somewhere else. While Yale made a choice to embrace an unapologetic supporter of a regime which oppressed women and sheltered Osama bin Laden, we prefer to aid organizations that support the troops who defeated that barbarous regime. Here are some of our favorites:
Taylor then lists five suggested troop-support charities to which Yale donors should divert their funds--including Valour-IT! And due to his kindness, I received the following email from one of his readers today:

I work as a Business Analyst for _______________.

I got to your site from an excellent article by Clinton Taylor on "Giving Yale the Finger." [snip] Your Valour-IT program was listed, and after reading it, I had a question: Our corporate office just went through an upgrade/standardization whereby they all got either new Desktops or Laptops of the same make and model. In the process, we now have inherited several Laptops, some older, but some less than 2 years old, name brand – Sony, Compaq, Dell, HP…. They are running either Windows 2000 or XP. If we offered to donate these, does your project have the resources to finish outfitting them for the Voice-activation capability?
How kind of Mr. Taylor to mention Valour-IT, and how generous of this company to donate the laptops! Valour-IT is running at near empty right now, so this is a wonderful windfall.