31 October, 2006

Valour-IT: The Need

I saw the headline the other day:

101 Die in Iraq in October

Of course I instantly thought of 101 radiating circles of devastating pain and loss. It hurts my heart when I think of the tears and emptiness so many must be feeling. And coming on the heels of those meditations was the realization that in the wake of each fallen warfighter are likely several seriously-injured brothers, brothers who are still among us and in desperate need of all the love and literal support we can give them.

It's been a rough month in Iraq. Most of the deaths came from IEDs, which usually hit a multi-passenger vehicle or gathering of military personnel. This means that each death we heard about probably included several wounded warfighters who are now arriving at places like Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center (Bethesda). And we never even hear about the cases in which no one dies, but passengers are severely wounded.

And that's why Valour-IT and this fundraiser are so important. Valour-IT supports the wounded that are quietly coping and attempting to heal, that don't get the headlines, whose families are not on the front page of local newspapers.

As has been said so often before, Valour-IT isn't about simply giving an emotional boost. It's about showing the severely wounded that they are still connected to us, that they are capable, that there is still a future for them.

I'm reminded of my conversation with the executive director of Soldier Ride, which sponsors adaptive cycling events for the wounded (including a cross-country bike ride). As we talked, we realized that Valour-IT and Soldier Ride are bookends on the path of recovery. Valour-IT is psychological first-aid, the beginning of it all, a connection to their support network and tangible hope that they are not going to spend their lives isolated in a hospital room or dependent on others who are more mobile. Soldier Ride is the proof of that all, a physical mountain they climb, proving to themselves that the world is their oyster, that their lives are not over and they can accomplish great things.

Valour-IT sets the foundation for a future. Please donate; help us show these wounded warriors they have a future. And help them reconnect with the world.

It's beyond patriotism--it's simply the right thing to do.