20 August, 2005


Well, as you can see, I haven't posted in six days. I couldn't come up with anything that didn't involve Valour-IT! I thought that if I moved all the Valour-IT news off Fuzzilicious Thinking and put it on the project blog, I would "get my blog back." Maybe so, but I didn't get my brain back to go along with it! My brain's still filled to the brim with Valour-IT. No matter where I post, I fear it's still gonna be Valour-IT.

So, my 4 or 5 dear friends who actually care if I write: it's gonna have to be "Valour-IT (almost) all the time, (almost) every time--at least until the Project gives me my brain back!

Yesterday I saw that CPT Z had posted for only the second time since Project Valour-IT began. One of his posts today was the first time he's written about Valour-IT. Suddenly it was all real. I mentally went back to 15 days ago and couldn't comprehend how I'd gotten to to where i find myself today. As I said in comments at CPT Z's blog, "Had you told me 3 weeks ago that I would be involved in this way, I would have thought you insane." (Either that, or that he'd been chewing on the fentanyl lollipops again!)

No one could ever have convinced me I would EVER be in a position called "Project Team Leader" for a charitable project. Sure I lead at my job--I lead classrooms full of little children! (Although, that's a lot more like herding cats than it is leading anybody, haha!) But outside the classroom I have usually stayed quietly in the background. I even tried to keep my involvement in this project anonymous (Silly, I know; I'll probably be publically "out of the closet" after the Washington Post article this weekend).

The only answer I have to the above paragraph is that I'm not really leading. Somehow I got caught up into this amazing project with people of great enthusiasm, creativity, and skill. They just needed someone to "stir the pot" and give them a place to put it all. So instead of leading anything, I find I'm desperately trying to keep up as I attempt to wrap my brain around volunteers' big ideas, and master Soldiers' Angels organizational structure, PR/media, marketing, non-profit procedures and concepts, management of adults, fundraising, negotiation, and basic business practices all at once, so that I can understand what they want to do and keep them from trampling each other in their exuberance!

The first week was insane, but I think it's finally starting to settle down, as the "lift-off" work is done and it's "running itself" a bit. But as I look at the parts of myself I've discovered in the last few weeks, I know this will be one of those before/after points in my life: a time when I can see so clearly that I'm no longer what I thought I was before.

And the other thing I've learned from this is that I have some extraordinary friends: from John's organizational/management skill to Sgt. B's heart-touching writing, BillT's quiet passion, Beth's idealistic courage, and Lex's marvelous use of the English language. Plus, the rest of the amazing Castle Denizens, all the other bloggers who have put their excellent skills and connections to work on this, and the other amazing volunteers who've lent themselves to the cause. And of course there's CPT Z, our visionary and inspiration. How did I get so lucky to know such wonderful people?!

You know, I'm gonna avoid it like the plague, but if the day ever comes that someone tries to thank me for what I've supposedly done, I'll gonna be one of those terribly cliched people who says, "I didn't really do it; it was the wonderful team that gathered around a shared dream." Because that's the truth. And why I was blessed enough to be swept up into this amazing project, I'll never know. But I'll be forever grateful for the opportunity.

But the best outcome of all of this is that our wounded warriors are going to get a piece of their independence back. And that is truly "what it's all about." I haven't focused too much on that fact in this little meandering essay because looking too closely at that brings almost more emotion than I can handle. Yes, it's paradoxical, but to think that I had any hand in helping those who will use these computers is humbling beyond my ability to express. As I wrote above, I'm so grateful to be along for the ride.

What strange roads life sweeps us down...