22 November, 2007

On Thanksgiving: Valour-IT

One of the unintended--but welcome--consequences of having a Valour-IT fundraising competition that ends on Veterans Day is that the dust starts settling right around Thanksgiving. And so each year I come to Thanksgiving with a full heart for all that has happened in recent weeks.

This year is no different.

For a number of reasons, this year's fundraiser seemed a bit of a hard slog. But yet, so many people stuck with it and helped us turn the corner into a result far better than what it seemed after the first week.

Big thanks go first of all to the Team Leaders, who spent time and blog space to highlight Valour-IT. Mrs. Greyhawk put in tremendous effort as Air Force Team Leader, doing a superb job of keeping her team informed and motivated. At Blackfive.net (home of Team Army), Blackfive, Jimbo and Laughing Wolf all blogged Valour-IT, sending their tremendous traffic Valour-IT's way. Behind the scenes, Navy/USCG Team Leader Xformed was working his butt off--strategizing, planning, creating an impressive bulletin board, and talking up both friends and strangers. Holly not only dealt with tremendous technical snafus, but did a great job of keeping the Marines Team focused and accomplishing impressive things. Thank you all so much for your time, attention, and hard work.

But besides the team leaders, a number of less-noticed bloggers were pouring their hearts into Valour-IT. Instapinch drew the hefty notice of National Review. Flag Gazer worked tirelessly in her successful recruitment of fellow bloggers, and was kind of enough to also spend time helping patrol the blog lists to make sure there were no "joke" registrations, while spreading the word about the new widgets. I don't know what I would've done without her! And Lemonstand recruited and coordinated auctions for a number of famous authors who donated their works to Valour-IT, single-handedly bringing in nearly $700 and spreading word of Valour-IT far beyond the milblogs. Laughing Wolf set the standard for sacrifice when he put up unique and unbelievable items for auction.

The auction itself was tremendous. I don't have exact numbers, but it raised at least $6,000 for Valour-IT! Thank you so much to all of you who donated your treasures, your time, and your creations to Valour-IT's auction. You made it a tremendous success!

As is usual, all the blogging, auctions and hoopla about Valour-IT that come with the fundraiser helped draw more attention to it, a self-perpetuating cycle: Hugh Hewitt and Andrea Shea-King repeatedly turned their megaphones to the subject of Valour-IT, big bloggers trumpeted the Valour-IT story, and Mary Katherine Ham and Noah Shachtman each wrote a wonderful column on Valour-IT. Among the smaller bloggers, I read so many excellent posts about Valour-IT that I completely lost track of them as I desperately wished I had time to do my own blogging so that I could try to bring their powerful creations more attention.

It was an amazing couple of weeks. Thank you so much for jumping in and helping us keep on helping the wounded. You are all angels of the first order, and you will always have my gratitude.

In fact, the Valour-IT Veterans Day fundriser has gotten so big it was impossible for me to personally keep track of everyone blogging it and all the people who have joined the cause this time around. Words are never enough, but may it suffice to say that you all are my heroes for the power you bring to bear on this, your never-say-die spirit, and your willingness to do whatever you can to make sure every wounded soldier who needs an laptop gets one.

And the great thing is that this is a cycle of gratitude. Valour-IT is grateful for your efforts today, but in coming weeks and months, wounded warriors will be thanking us for a laptop, a gift enabled by efforts that spring from your gratitude for the efforts and sacrifices of the wounded. And so it goes, 'round and 'round... so much for all of us to be thankful for!

May you be blessed at Thanksgiving and all days.

P.S. I know I'm leaving people out of the list above, though I'm sure I'll remember some of them in coming days. If you know of someone who went way out of their way for Valour-IT, please let me know or remind me. I'll keep adding to this Thank Yous. [I'll put up the links tomorrow.]