Theodore's World: Valour IT Fundraiser ~ The Marines

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October 26, 2009

Valour IT Fundraiser ~ The Marines

Project Valour-IT - Today through November 11th

In memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss

It was the first time I felt whole since I’d woken up wounded in Landstuhl. –Major Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, on using a voice-controlled laptop

Who does America call when something absolutely, positively must be destroyed overnight?

U.S. Marine Rat

That's right... America's 911 Force: the Few. The Loud. The Marine team!

We're still looking for a few good blogs to help us raise money for Project Valour IT. The competition starts Monday, October 26th and though the Marines are the smallest service, we're planning to chew through the competition. But to do that, we need your help.

Project Valour IT provides laptops with voice activated software to wounded soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen at Walter Reed and Bethesda. Typically these young men and women spend up to two years recovering and undergoing physical therapy. Their courage, determination, and unfailing esprit de corps are truly inspiring. Most of us, facing the loss of our eyesight, an arm or a leg and repeated surgeries would just crumble up into a ball. Not these guys. They're warriors:

He knows they're going to stare. They always stare.

As soon as Pat Murray steps in the elevator, they'll notice his prosthetic leg and maybe accurately surmise that, yes, he is an Iraq war veteran, and, yes, he got blown up. Then the sadness will sink in, the pity, and they'll give him that look, which he can sense even if he doesn't see, and it will be an uncomfortable few floors up.

So as Murray approaches the elevator and the woman thrusts her hand between the closing doors for him, he says, "Careful, you can lose a limb that way."

"Oooh," the woman says, noticing Murray's metal leg. She's obviously shocked, unsure of what to say or how to act. Murray flashes a smile, lets loose an "it's okay" chuckle, and suddenly the ride up isn't nearly so awkward after all.

It's that type of humor -- spontaneous (he once asked his doctor when his leg would grow back), cunning (he tells children who ask about his "robot" leg that he didn't eat his vegetables) and, at times, gruesome (there are stump jokes that can't be printed here) -- that helped him come to terms with the fact that his right leg is no more.

It was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that Murray, who was a corporal in the Marine Corps, not only learned to walk again, but to laugh. Although doctors and therapists can patch up the physical wounds of war, it is often the humor -- soldier to soldier, Marine to Marine, patient to patient -- that in the space of a punch line can heal as well as the best medicine.

It's not unusual for these young men and women to take up bungee jumping, skydiving, or participate in marathons or other extreme sports even after losing a limb. But that long period where they're confined to their hospital beds can be the worst of all. Project Valour IT provides them with a way to escape the confines of their rooms and keep in touch with buddies, friends and family members. For many wounded vets, it's a tangible reminder that they're still part of the world outside Bethesda or Walter Reed: that there is life after being wounded.

Valour IT is one of my favorite military charities. I've supported it every year and led the Marine Team to raise over $51,000 in 2006. My co-captain Carrie and I are planning two weeks of fun, jokes, Marine history, culture, heroes and more. Carrie's son is headed over to Afghanistan and my husband is already over there, so we both have good reason to support the great work Valour IT is doing.

Posted by Wild Thing at October 26, 2009 05:45 AM


Wow, I didn't even know 29 Palms had a Hospital. The last I heard they had a 'sick-bay' and that was it. But then again that was 43 years ago. Then one night a couple of drunken Marines cut down a few palm trees and made it 25 palms and hence the name 29 stumps.

This is great. They need all they can get. Lord knows obama aint going to give them anything extra. Jack got the info on that one.

So I went and donated.

Posted by: Mark at October 26, 2009 12:03 PM

Army Airborne rules. Marine collection won't come near the Army collection. Git 'er Done, Army!
"Learned all I need to know about Islam on 9/11!"

Posted by: Frankly Opinionated at October 26, 2009 12:34 PM

I with you Frankly. AIRBORNE!

Posted by: TomR at October 26, 2009 01:29 PM

I designed a challenge coin for my own Marine Viet Nam Helo squadron association earlier this year and we made a profit of $623.00 by selling coins to the members. That's not much for a project like this but to raise money, you do what ever it takes.

A catchy challenge coin for project Valor IT might generate some cash. Once you get over 500 coins in the order, the cost of production gets pretty tiny and the profit per coin goes up.

Marines love challenge coins.... Maybe the pitch is something like, "Each coin sells for $9.00 but please contribute as much as you can with your order."

Sgt. Grit did a great job for my outfit and if it's for a fighting Marine cause, Don (Sgt. Grit at will step up with discounds and such.

Posted by: Billy Ray at October 26, 2009 02:45 PM

Er, I wan't very clear about it in the previous post but Sgt. Grit ( is where I ordered our coins.

Sorry for the vague post.

Posted by: Billy Ray at October 26, 2009 04:22 PM

Thank you everyone giggle.... I try to pick
a different branch each year. Fair and
balanced don't cha know. ( big smile )

Billy Ray thank you so much for sharing
about the Coin and about Sgt. Grit too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 26, 2009 05:06 PM

C'mon you Marine wusses! Raise some bucks. Army will have you skinned and dried while they collect the most for Valour IT. Did you marines know that GOD made the Army RANGER so Marines could have a hero? Thats a fact, got it from an Obama approved fact dispenser. I hope that this year, as in years past, donations exceed the previous year. America loves to help, and when it is for "The Best of the Best", our troops, we will stand up for the count.
"Learned all I need to know about Islam on 9/11!"

Posted by: Frankly Opinionated at October 27, 2009 04:57 PM