Veterans Day is a time for you to thank those who have sacrificed being comfortable in order to assure your ability to live and breathe free. They give up family and friends, if only for a time, and the comfort they provide in exchange for an environment where people try to kill them and blow them up. And they do it not because they love it, but because of you: their fellow country-men and women.
Some of them give up more. Some give up their lives. And some give up their limbs.
On this Veterans Day, I ask you to remember these heroes. But I also have a special bleg: help those who have either permanently or temporarily lost the use of their hands by giving to Soldier's Angels Project VALOUR-IT.
We are in an age of increased connectedness and interconnectedness. The Internet Age.
People get their news from it, and most importantly stay in touch with family and friends world wide: in peace zones and war zones.
Sometimes, getting injured means having to be disconnected from this network. This is exactly the situation that Project Valour-IT is attempting to mitigate for our wounded soldiers.
Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss (Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss' father), provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse.
Every cent raised for Project Valour-IT goes directly to the purchase and shipment of voice-activated laptops for wounded servicemembers. As of October 2006, Valour-IT has distributed nearly 600 laptops to severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines across the country.
Our veterans have remained vigilant and true to you. Help in this effort to return the favor.
And let me take this time to thank my son, Specialist Stephen LoPinto (pictured on the left), formerly of the 1-14th Infantry (Light) who served 13 months in Iraq, and is now a member of the Vermont Army National Guard (1-86th FA), for his service to our country.