It’s VALOur-IT Time Again!

July 1st, 2011 by xformed

The fund drive will run from today through the 14th of July. Don’t know what VALOur-IT is? Click the link.

The reader’s digest version: For those wounded with sight or mobility issues keeping them from using a computer like most people do, Soldier’s Angels has a project to provide new laptop computers with Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software to them. Their to keep, to help them get re-connected with family and friends and battle buddies, and for the future, it’s good work skill development.

So…spread the word, beat the bushes, spam your email list, beg at the local Starbucks for help for this wonderful program that has provided now in excess of 6000+ laptops!

Donate to Soldier’s Angels Project Valour-IT

Soldier's Angels Team Navy

Chip in…it’s well worth the money and it is changed/has changed lives.

Category: Air Force, Army, Blogging, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops, Valour-IT | Comments Off on It’s VALOur-IT Time Again!

VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Final Numbers: BZ!

November 16th, 2010 by xformed

For those without a Naval background, “BZ” is signal flag code for “Well Done.”

It’s been over for a few days, but the final totals, minus some that will trickle in via the mail for the VALOur-IT was:

$92,542!!

Amazing. The beginning goal was $60K. The Army sprinted out of the blocks and blew throught their $15K “fair share” and had to bump the goal to keep it easy to see. They pushed their meter to $25K, and then the Marines, outflaked them and everybody else…..The Jarheads powered through the muck and went north of $30K to an amazed audience. Of course a nod from Michelle Malkin didn’t hurt at all, now did it?

Thanks to one and all for spreading the word on this wonderful, life changing project, that puts wounded soldiers, sailors. airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Marines back into the world via technology.

See you next year, but, donations for this, and the many other projects of Soldier’s Angels are gracefully accepted all year long.

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Technology, Valour-IT | Comments Off on VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Final Numbers: BZ!

Project VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Begins

October 28th, 2010 by xformed

learn more

My favorite time of the year begins today, and goes until Veteran’s Day, 11/11/10.

Project VALOur-IT was an accidental collusion of two minds, some one offering help from Soldier’s Angels and the rest is history. The story is well told across the now 6 years, and over 5000 laptops, the very large majority of them new, with Dragon Naturally Speaking are in the hands of those wounded so they are limited by sight or typing disabilities.

The laptops are theirs to keep.

The funds are used only for the purchase of the laptops, and now Wiis and GPS units, and the transportation to the delivery points (usually the major US Military Medical facilities). All other costs for this project are borne by volunteers. It’s a charity project where, down to the final penny, it’s put to work for the purpose of the project. I like it for that reason, but I like it more because it provides some normality back to those who have suffered for the defense of the Nation, and for those in other lands.

for the last 5 years, a large band of bloggers have taken to the net to let people know this project exists and to request your donations. Not only are they active duty/retired/former military members, but supporters, family members, and any one else who jumps in to pass the word on to everyone they know.

On the donate page linked to the button above, you can also get the code to put a button like this, or the alternative style, to post on your site/blog/etc.

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Leadership, Marines, Maritime Matters, Military, Navy, Supporting the Troops, Technology, Valour-IT | Comments Off on Project VALOur-IT 2010 Campaign Begins

Brain Injury Awareness Month: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

March 5th, 2010 by xformed

This CT scan is an example of Subdural haemorr...
Image via Wikipedia

Via backchannel, a request to highlight the “signature” wound of the current war: Traumatic Brain Injury.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month for the Brain Injury Association of America.  Pass the Word, please, as you can and know this is a very probable issue with our injured Vets.

For those who have long supported the Soldier’s Angels Voice Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops (VALOur-IT), this is one of the things the program has been addressing, along with the coputer contact with the world, by providing GPS Units for those wounded service members who are getting out and about. The reason: TBI has an associated symptom of loss of short term memory, and the GPS Units help remind the driver where they were headed.  (Note:  You don’t have to wait until this November to donate to VALOur-IT…SA will be happy to accept donations all year long…even today to help this great cause)

Below is the article Chelsea asked if I could post to help get attention to the cause:

Traumatic Brain Injuries in the Military

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is becoming a common wound of modern warfare. It has even been coined the “signature wound” of the War on Terror. While TBI is becoming more prevalent in wartime activity, many service men and women continue to go undiagnosed. Institutions, like the US Department of Veterans Affairs, are working to make quick and accurate diagnoses in order to prescribe appropriate and effective treatment.

TBI is caused by forced trauma to the head, either by being shaken or hit. The severity of a TBI varies from case to case, but symptoms range from mild concussions to a debilitating state. The majority of TBI’s acquired by military personnel are classified as mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI). Initial symptoms of MTBI consist of loss of consciousness, disorientation, loss of memory, headache, and temporary loss of hearing and vision. They are often partnered with anxiety, irritability, difficulties processing information, limited concentration amongst other problems experienced down the road. While MTBI is most common amongst the men and women of the armed forces, more severe cases of TBI are happening much more frequently and often require the victim to attended specialty rehabilitative nursing centers, like CareMeridian.

The most common cause of a TBI in the military is due to blasts. There are three degrees of blast injuries where a TBI is common; Primary (due to blast itself), Secondary (due to objects being propelled by a blast) and Tertiary (due to a collision with a third party object). According to the Veterans Health Initiative, active male members of the military from the ages 18-24 are hospitalized with a TBI at a rate of 231 per 100,000 and females 150 per 100,000. Based on military force projections this would mean that 4,141 military personnel are hospitalized on average each year with a TBI, and these numbers often rise during wartimes.

The best prevention for veterans to avert the long-term effects of a brain injury is to recognize the symptoms of a TBI. Once the symptoms are identified an individual should take basic precautionary measures in order to begin the healing and recovery process until a more specific diagnosis can be made.

Service men and women give so much to protect this country and they deserve to come home to a happy and healthy life. Creating awareness about TBI will help ensure their long term health. By helping our veterans, their friends and their families recognize the early warning signs of a TBI, treatment can be sought as early as possible.

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Category: Air Force, Army, Biology, Blogging, Charities, Coast Guard, Education, Jointness, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Science, Supporting the Troops, Valour-IT | 5 Comments »

Technology Tuesday

November 3rd, 2009 by xformed

Technology.   Someone commented on a blog elsewhere a few weeks back most of mankind’s greatest accomplishments were driven as a function of the need to conduct warfare. I’ll have to go along with that. While going to the moon has had a vast array of technological advancements, it was to help improve our missile/rocket technology and the abilty to function on the “high ground” That being said, there is technology developments, more like a “fusion” of hardware and software to help our wounded warriors. Laptops and Dragon Naturally Speaking. Life changing, capability restoring. Project VALOur-IT running on raw volunteer power and passion. Join up…serve the cause. Change a life. Invest in a future citizen out of uniform.

Just when you’d thought you’d read enough about VALOur-IT, Jeff Bacon a noted naval cartoonist, has done his duty to help promote the fund raising campaign.

Not only has Jeff jumped in, he connected with Steven Pastis, creator of “Pearls Before Swine” (an excellent cartoon strip, I might add) to jointly promote helping our wounded warriors.

Here is the first frame

YOu have to go to Jeff’s post to see the rest of the story.

And…if you still haven’t been convinced to contribute…please reconsider and chip in a few bucks, and send the information to your friends, family and co-workers.

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Leadership, Marines, Military, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops, Technology Tuesday, Valour-IT | 1 Comment »

Spreading the word: VALOur-IT Business Cards for 2009

October 17th, 2009 by xformed

Blogs get so far, email reaches more…but what about handing our business cards in the office or at the bar or the networking meetings and seminars you attend for the next few weeks?

First off, I’ll say this: I’m not graphics artist and I’m no savvy marketeer. If you can do a better card…please do, just know you will be running a tight deadline to get them in your hands in a quantity to get to lots of people inexpensively fast, beginning 10/26. I’m going to “carpet bomb” the local area…in hopes of getting one more method of exposure for the VALOur-IT campaign moving this year.

I designed these (set up for 3.75″x2.25″ for full bleed):

Click on the pictures to get to the ones made for 300dpi, if you’d like to borrow the artwork for your purposes to promote the Soldier’s Angels VALOur-IT 2009 fund raising campaign.

If you’d just like a bunch to show up at your door (no shipping cost!), has these on file and mine were ordered yesterday. Jamie is the owner and can get some headed your way, too.

Here’s my plan and feel free to steal this, also

Enlist the many people I know locally to hand these out in the circles of influence thay travel in. I’m in a great networking organization, Free Networking International (which is free, btw), that has over 40 chapters meeting weekly in just the multi city area around me. Between all the chapter directors and other events held, I will have help. I’m also going to go to neighbors, two of the local Chambers of Commerce where I know the office staff (they talk to many people each day) and drop them off there, too.

After tht, I’ll put them out to the local businesses I go to and have gotten to know the owners there, too.

So, what’s so hard about that? A few thousand cards should be good reminders to check out the Soldier’s Angels site for donations when they get home and clean out thier pockets and purses from the days work.

Anyhow, Jamie is cost effective and better yet…can have them at your door 3-5 business days after the order. No set up, it’s all done. Just get the word out!

Category: Military | Comments Off on Spreading the word: VALOur-IT Business Cards for 2009

Auctions for 2009 VALOur-IT Campaign!

October 17th, 2009 by xformed

Have something that will bring hte big bucks?

Then you can help.

For the Soldiers Angels VALOur-IT fund raising campaign this year, auctions will be held on eBay via a single seller.

The short brief: You send the info to Holly Aho, she posts them, you package and ship the item as dirrected and get paid for your shipping costs.

The longer and “official” rules to play:

Auction Items Submissions

All auction items will run as a 7 day auction with no buy-it-now options. Auctions will be listed either on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening, ensuring a “2 weekend run” during the 7 day period. This is the busiest time at Ebay. With new listings and expiring listings showing at the top of their lists this is the best time to have a new listing, and the next weekend a now expiring listing.

All auction items must be shipped within 5 business days after receiving shipping cost payment. You will be sent shipping cost money either by paypal or check based on your preference.

Things needed to start an auction:

1. Photos.

Images should be no larger than 600px by 600px

Image file names should be short and descriptive. IMG_0001.jpg would be wrong. marinecoins.jpg would be better.

Image file names should contain no spaces. marine coins.jpg would be wrong. marinecoins.jpg or marine_coins.jpg would be better.

There is no limit to number of photos you can include

2. Description of item
Suggestions for a good description:
Include measurements if applicable. Height, width, depth, etc. Is it bigger than a breadbox? lol

Include weight if applicable. Is it paper mache or solid gold? Help the person imagine seeing and holding it in person.

Condition of item. Was it last driven over by a drunken tractor driver or is it new in the box?

Rarity. This is more subjective but give an opinion based on your experience. How many of this item have you ever seen?

Include color(s) in your description. Photos are not good for relying on these details. The buyer may have drastically different monitor color settings than you.

Include method you intend to ship the item with. Say you will ship USPS Priority, UPS Ground or whatever you prefer.

Include flat rate shipping cost in description (see below for more details). This information will be in the auction details but it’s good to include right in the description.

3. Shipping cost
Select a shipping method you prefer, be it UPS, USPS, FedEx or whatever.

Find a zip code for the furthest location in the US from your house as you can think of (in lower 48 states). Go to USPS.com, UPS.com or the website for your prefered shipping provider and perform a shipping costs calculator estimate using your address and the zip code you looked up as the shipping location. This estimate will be the shipping cost for the auction.

4. Price
Include:
Lowest possible value of item. If you don’t know, just say that.

5. Your personal information
(this information will not be shared)
Your name
address
phone
email address

6. Method you prefer to receive shipping cost payment from buyer
Paypal
Check by postal mail

Rules for preparing shipping items

1. All items must be shipped in a box large enough to fit the item as well as shipping materials. This includes any item up for auction, books, small items and even paper items.
2. You must use bubble wrap and/or styrophoam peanuts in packaging your item, even if it is a paper item or a book. No newspaper as shipping material allowed!
3. No boxes with alcohol advertisements or names are allowed for shipping purposes. If this is the only box you have, turn it inside out and tape it back together. Need a box? Large stores like Wal-Mart are happy to give you as many as you want. Visit them late at night while they are stocking and help yourself!
4. Use lots of tape!
5. You will be emailed a “From Soldiers’ Angels” label to print and place on the outside of your box. Please tape it in a visible area, and even tape over the paper so that if the box gets wet the label will be “water-proof”.

Questions? Email Holly Aho at holly@hollyaho.com!

~Holly Aho

Note: Holly has been one of the backgorund volunteers who has made lots of Soldier’s Angels things go for years, so you can be confident your item will be taken care of well in the auctions.

Put on your thinking caps on what you have that can help the cause…and do it soon. Oct 26th is coming up fast! (Statr dtae of the fund dive!).

Category: Air Force, Army, Charities, Coast Guard, Jointness, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops, Valour-IT | Comments Off on Auctions for 2009 VALOur-IT Campaign!

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