28 October, 2005

A Heartfelt Plea

This comes purely from the heart:

Valour-IT is not "my baby." I don't have my ego wrapped up in it, and I take no personal pride in what we have accomplished; all I did was sound a call that seemed so obvious to me that I couldn't believe no one had done it before. I have no big dreams of making this my life's work, and it will never appear on my resume. I can take no pride in saying I'm "in charge" of Valour-IT, except to bask in the reflected glow of having my pseudonym associated with such an amazing bunch of people. In fact, if you ask my friends, they'd tell you I've been dragged kicking and screaming into being the head of this project. I don't feel like a leader, I'm definitely not a manager of anybody older than 12 (and some days even that's iffy), and I still can't believe I got myself into this in the first place! But I saw a need, and I had a dream of how to fill that need.

That need is neither short-term nor static; it grows with the passing days. It does not wane because hurricanes arrive or Christmas approaches. It does not become less urgent because a couple dozen people have been helped so far. It does not pass away just because it passes from our consciousness. For most beneficiaries of Valour-IT, that need is framed in months, years, or a lifetime.

For the recipients of a voice-activated laptop from Valour-IT, it is not a matter of a short-term emotional boost, or even the sustenance gleaned from the knowledge that one is "remembered." It is a matter of assistance in reclaiming a part of one's wholeness and independence in the face of life-altering injuries, repeated surgery, painful physical therapy, and the isolation of the hospital room.

The military doctors and the technology they wield can do amazing things. But it still takes time to heal, and full recovery is not always possible. It is during this period of great challenge, after a proud warfighter has laid it all on the line and come back with the wounds to prove it, that he needs us most. He will forever carry the eventually-healed internal and external scars as a marker of his priceless gifts to us. The least we can do is the comparatively painless activity of opening our pocketbooks to give him a gift that is also priceless--a piece of his life back. A tough-talking "soldier's soldier," the leader of a tank company in Iraq and the inspiration for Valour-IT, wrote the following:

Being fed, bathed, taken care of like an infant—not exactly a fitting role for a warrior who's used to being the one who helps others. It sure as hell wasn't a role that I wanted...At that time I had no use of either hand. I know how humbling it is, how humiliating it feels. And I know how much better I felt, how amazingly more functional I felt, after Soldiers' Angels provided me with a laptop and a loyal reader provided me with the software...
How can you not do everything in your power to make that happen for yet another soldier who finds himself facing similar trying times? How can you let it pass from your mind? Can you turn your face away from the opportunity to give what you can to those who have given so much for you?

You don't have to be a millionaire. Like droplets into trickles, flowing into steams into rivers, the dollars add up.

They gave what they could. We must do the same.

They've always had our hearts. But what they need most right now is our money and our time.

Linked at Mudville Gazette's Open Post