27 March, 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...