The first blog post I distinctly remember reading from Chux blog was the barbeque post. (If you've never made the connection, the picture from that post is that same little bitty icon in the address bar of your browser, just zoomed in on the barbeque.)
I remember reading later about Chuck getting blown up. I remember sitting at my desk with tears running down my face for some guy I had never so much as emailed. I remember reading the posts from The Mrs. and thinking she is a woman I wanted to be more like. (I'm still working on that one.)
The story could have ended there. Chuck could have faded off the internet due to his injuries and I never would have met two people whose friendship I now value so much.
If Soldiers' Angels hadn't given a laptop to Chuck and that most wonderful anonymous donation been made to his Amazon account for him to get Dragon Naturally Speaking, none of us would have been reading blog posts from him a few days later. How many of us found his blog or made the first comment or sent him a card or dropped him an email after he was able to start blogging again? Because of Project Valour-IT, Chuck was able to reconnect with the people who were in his life before the IED. I don't want to take anything away from the value and magic of those ties being made whole again. But he was also able to meet so many new people through that computer because his voice on the net had not been taken away from those of us who hadn't reached out yet.
If Chuck hadn't gotten a laptop and been able to keep blogging, he never would have broken the blog and gotten unsolicited advice from me. If he hadn't been able to keep blogging, he would have just been a distant memory for me. And that would suck.
Chuck, thanks for breaking the blog. Patti, thanks going on eBay and buying him a laptop. Thank you to everyone who started the ball rolling for Valour-IT and everyone who kept it rolling. Thank you to everyone who donates and lets this happen again and again to so many people in so many places.
Every morning when I'm getting ready for work, I see a cashout voucher from the Straosphere slot machines for $0.13. It reminds me of the friends I have who I don't get to see nearly enough, but whose presence on this planet remind me there's a lot more to life than my daily drama. I never would have been trying to get to that rollercoaster thing on the top of the Straosphere a few minutes too late with some of the coolest people I've ever met if that first Valour-IT laptop hadn't been given to Chuck.