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
Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, helps provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries. The experience of Major Chuck Ziegenfuss (pictured), a partner in the project who suffered serious hand wounds while serving in Iraq, led to the creation of this program.
In the last seven years, Project Valour-IT has supplied over 6,000 voice-controlled and other adaptive laptops to severely wounded American troops, but that work could soon come to an end. Every week brings more wounded heroes home from the battlefield, but donations are not keeping pace with their needs. Over 70 wounded warriors are currently waiting for a Valour-IT laptop, with 10 new requests coming in each week.
To address this growing need, military support nonprofit Soldiers' Angels is conducting a summer-long fundraising drive. The goal is to provide 250 more laptops to help wounded warriors stay connected while they recover or build a new life as they transition out of the military.
From July 4 through Labor Day, patriotic Americans across the country are donating and spreading the word through Social Media and good-old-fashioned word of mouth. Divided among four “virtual teams” named in honor of U.S. military service branches, they are relying on friendly inter-service rivalries to spur them on to at least $100,000 in fundraising.
It's hard to overstate the impact Project Valour-IT has on those wounded warriors lucky enough to receive a laptop. “This project changes lives," says Soldiers' Angels Founder Patti Patton-Bader. “Major Chuck Ziegenfuss, whose experience as a wounded Soldier inspired the project says receiving a voice-controlled laptop said it was 'the first time I felt whole. '”
Patton-Bader also points out that Independence Day is the perfect time to remember those who give so much for our freedom. “They have literally sacrificed parts of their bodies in service to our country," she says. “As we celebrate the freedoms that service has given us, we must ensure they have what they need to build their own new lives as wounded warriors. How could we give them any less? ”
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