This Thanksgiving, Valour-IT Thanks the Wounded

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Non-profit Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT aims to provide wounded soldiers with a high-tech Thanksgiving with voice-controlled laptops and other technology that supports recovery.

Project Valour-IT aims to thank wonded troops this Thanksgiving by providing technology that supports their recovery.

My neurology team is ecstatic with the progress that I have made… I have become more mobile in my rehabilitation and the laptop is absolutely one of the tools that I have in my recovery toolbox. I use it to keep current on my schedule and have several applications that assist with recovery.

Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT is celebrating Thanksgiving by thanking America's wounded troops in a very high-tech way. The non-profit charity project, which supplies voice-activated laptops and other technology that supports physical and psychological recovery from injury, will complete its annual fundraiser on Thanksgiving Day.

In the last three years, Valour-IT has donated over 2700 voice-controlled laptops to severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, and has supplied additional items that are a surprising fit in a recovery regimen--Wii game systems and handheld GPS devices.

Voice-activated laptops reconnect the wounded with the world, allowing them to maintain contact with their deployed unit and family members not at the bedside, and developing self-confidence by showing they will continue to be engaged and productive despite their injuries. But they also have direct therapeutic value. A laptop recipient recently wrote to Soldiers' Angels, "My neurology team is ecstatic with the progress that I have made… I have become more mobile in my rehabilitation and the laptop is absolutely one of the tools that I have in my recovery toolbox. I use it to keep current on my schedule and have several applications that assist with recovery."

Dubbed "Wii-habilitation," the use of Wii game systems in medical settings can have a powerful effect on a wounded soldier's recovery, too. As Donna Jo Blake, Chief of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation for the Department of Veterans Affairs in eastern Colorado reports, "We are aware of many colleagues throughout the Veterans Affairs medical system who have developed dynamic Wii programs in multiple areas, including PolyTrauma, Spinal Cord Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury, and Long Term Care...Wii gaming has great potential for physical, mental and emotional well-being. We are delighted to receive this support from Soldiers' Angels."

Handheld GPS can also play an important role in a wounded soldier's recovery. The signature wound of today's wars is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which often causes short-term memory loss and organizational problems (severe PTSD can have similar effects). A handheld GPS device helps compensate for these challenges, allowing a wounded soldier to develop independence and self-confidence when leaving the hospital after initial treatment.

As a project dedicated to providing high-tech equipment to the wounded, Valour-IT also uses technology to strong effect in its Internet-based fundraisers. Using blogs, podcasts and other new media, the project reaches into communities around the country, motivating people to donate and spread the word about this innovative program among their friends, coworkers and community organizations. All funds raised go directly to the purchase of laptops, Wii systems, and GPS devices, reassuring donors that their dollars are put to excellent use.

The theme of this year's fundraiser, Give up Something to Give to the Wounded, is a reminder that we all have little luxuries we may not think about that could quickly add up to a modest donation if we sacrificed them for a few days in honor those who have sacrificed so much for the country. This Thanksgiving, Valour-IT is calling on Americans to consider what they are thankful for, and to include Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen at the top of the list by donating to support the recovery of America's wounded heroes. Donations may be made online at Soldiers' Angels, or by sending checks or money orders to Soldiers' Angels, Project Valour-IT Fund, 1792 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91104.

About Soldiers' Angels:
Established in 2003, Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) non-profit providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as veterans and military families. For more information, see http://www.soldiersangels.org or call 626-529-5114. Tax ID# 20-0583415

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