07 November, 2007

Above and Beyond

Microsoft's Above and Beyond Effort Award is given to someone who goes "above and beyond" in support of military personnel--someone who inspires others to step up, and whose leadership spawns new supportive endeavors. The winner...

* Offers outstanding support and comfort to our troops.
* Helps enhance morale and personal welfare of our troops.
* Through their mentorship, inspires other groups/individuals to create new and unique ways to show their support of the troops.
* Has impacted the lives of many through their leadership and guidance.

Who else could fit those criteria, but Patti...

I called Patti up in 2005, without introduction; she had no idea who I was, but she listened to my pitch for a charity project that would provide voice-controlled laptops to wounded troops. "It's a nice idea," she said. "But how do you propose to fund that? It'll cost hundreds of thousands of dollars." She then proceeded to grill me about my vision, seriousness, and dedication to my idea." She finally said, "Okay. We'll handle the donations that come in, if you lead it.... but we can't put any extra money into this; it'll sink or swim on what you make of it."

Patti shepherded me through pitching my idea to the board, taught me the basics of PR, helped me refine my vision and put me in touch with the people I needed to bring it to life. Under her watchful eye, Valour-IT went from a nice idea that Soldiers' Angels attached its name to, to one of Soldiers' Angels' highest-profile projects, enjoying its full support. And most-importantly, it has distributed over 1600 laptops... and counting.

I'm not the only Soldiers' Angel with a story like that. As I wrote above, who could better fit those criteria than Patti?