Tag Archive for troop support

Soldier’s Angels VALOur-IT Fund Drive 2010

Technology moves ahead in unpredictable ways, sometimes.

History lesson below, for the interested. For those who are ready and need to donate and move on: Click here.

If you’re looking to help an old Sailor out, then “push” the button for Navy. Know this: It all goes into the same pot, but, the need to poke at our fellow military members doesn’t go away easily, so…resist the urge to help any service team other than Navy…..

Now to some background:

Barely 5 years ago, a “MilBlogger,” and Army Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss, ended up on the wrong end of an IED when on patrol in Iraq and subsequently in Walter Reed Medical Center. Having been a fairly active poster, when a Soldier’s Angels representative asked if he needed anything, he asked for a laptop so he could blog from the hospital, since he’d be there a while. They bought one off of eBay.

He had injuries to both arms, leaving him with one in a cast, and the other in a halo. Typing, as you may surmise, was pretty tough. He posted indicating he sure could use some help…maybe so he could talk to his computer.

Some people helped him out getting Dragon Naturally Speaking. As a result, Chuck’s Blog came back to life.

As a result of that, the idea that this mashup of existing tech would be able to help others. The conception of the idea came from one of Chuck’s reader’s, Beth (FuzzyBear Lioness in the comments section), who thought if it worked for Chuck, who else might it help?

So, the first use of the Project’s Name happened 8/18/2005.

Now we are but 5 years and a few months later, over $600K collected, about 50 bloggers on the teams, and begging for air time on the big websites (and getting some!), with close to 6000 laptops delivered. They are new. They are good ones, and they are provided at the Major military medical facilities, and, they can be requested, if someone has slipped by the system unnoticed.

I believe it was last year, they added the purchasing and providing of Nintendo Wiis, which has helped with physcial therapy for the injured warriors. GPS units are now also provided to those who are getting out and about, to compensate for the short term memory loss issues as a result of TBI and severe PTSD injuries.

The “gateway” to the many pages of information and the project blog is here.

One particularly descriptive post titled “Laptops Save Lives?!” has the words of the real “end users” of the charity of the donors of this work. It may be from 2007, but the truth is right there. This is a great project, which really “gives back” to those who entered the services and gave much of themselves.

Besides just the close to the problem connection, from a problem solving standpoint, I see this as a job training program for the majority of these wounded troops, as they will be medically retired/discharged. If they have used a computer to get and stay in contact with their families, friends and “Battle Buddies,” they sure will be able to draft up a business letter, surf the net to do research and learn to crunch numbers with Excel for the employer who wants a person who looks forward into life and works to achieve their potential.

I could go on for many pages, having personally met Chuck and Beth, and Patti, the Founder of Soldier’s Angels via these campaigns over the 5 years. The stories are real, the ideas amazing, and the unselfish acts to take an idea from one person to many is a lesson in building relationships.

Once more: Donate here to Team Navy!

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Find a successful case study and…

Read it!

Blogging. Not “fast food” like Twitter, not all social like FaceBook, but, as I’ve said in my seminars and coaching: “The Long Form.”

Think through the IRS analogy: The 1040EZ gets the issue off your back, but you get more deductions on the 1040. More deductions, more money back, but you have to put more into it.

“MilBlogs” (Military Blogs) began to share stories, mostly because they didn’t get reported. Matt Burden of Black Five began what has become the biggest (be readership) MilBlog because the main stream media didn’t even report the passing of his friend in combat. He decided not only would the name of Army Maj. Mathew E. Schram wouldn’t be forgotten, but the regular fare of the early days of Black Five were the “Someone You Should Know” category of posts. Over the years, some living, some casualties of war, all placed on the web, so they would not be forgotten. Matt wasn’t alone, and about 6 years ago, there were about 200 MilBlogs.

As of just this moment, from MilBlogging.com’s header: “Milblogging.com currently has 2,829 military blogs in 45 countries… ”

These blogs are a model. Grass roots “passing the word” model. Get people’s attention on a topic model. Create large virtual communities of support models, quickly and at little monetary cost besides a few dollars. Buzz up a charity model. See a need and make a charity model. Connect people on the “backchannels model.

If you’re sitting around, wondering just what blogging can do for you, your cause, your passion, or your business: Study the MilBlog model.

The American Legion site has a well written article on the genesis of this unmanaged group of military, retired military. military family members and just plain old “I want to help support the military” people. “The MilBlogosphere” by Matt Seavey.

Local to the Tampa Bay area, a Marine’s wife became a widow this past March. Her blog about life took a new turn, as she shared her feelings of the news her husband had been killed in combat in Afghanistan and how it shook and affirmed her world. “A Little Bit of Pink in a Camo World” drew attention around the country and the world, and began a whole community of spouses and family members, and Rachael began a new venture: Participating in and setting up fund raising events for supporting the troops. She is but one of many.

I invite you to read and study the MilBlog world, it’s roots, it’s players, it’s content, and it’s powerful voice. If you have questions, and would like some personal input on the inner workings, I certainly can provide mine to you. I’ve met a few of the writers in person and have grown in my blogging as a result of their mentoring.