The Greatest Among You

A forum for those serving the distressed among us.

Great Salute to the Military

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“I am in awe at what our military has accomplished in Iraq despite having most of the public and the vast majority of the media totally abandon them. In my view, what has been accomplished there, against all odds, is perhaps the greatest achievement in the history of our military and perhaps any volunteer force in modern times. I certainly love my country, but what it is that inspires men and women to volunteer for military service when the benefits are so sparse and the burdens so great is beyond my comprehension. We are all incredibly lucky to live in a nation that, despite all of its faults, still have enough courageous young people to serve it in ways that allow ‘chicken hawks’ (as the Left loves to describe conservative commentators who never served in the military) to worry about things that in comparison don’t seem all that significant. Thank you for all you do for us. I wish we appreciated you in a way that was nearly as significant as what you deserve.” –radio talk-show host John Ziegler

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Written by metaphysicalperegrine

June 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Posted in Military, The Vet

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Project: Iraqi Children

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This and the previous post were from a write up of projects my good friend Sarah Payne was involved in. Also working with her were Phil Rosati, Melanie Lorino, Evelyn Rodriguez, Drew Nellen.

“As part of our Introduction to Management class, our team was instructed to use basic principles of management to put together a successful project that would make an impact on the community. Since corporate social responsibility is an important aspect of management and working together as a team is as important, these projects proved to be beneficial and provided an opportunity to practice management as opposed to learning about it. Our first project: Project Iraqi Children, ensured that our group worked together as a team to utilize basic management strategies to make a contribution to our global environment in a creative way.

Organizations have a responsibility to be proactive in addressing problems identified in their environments. Our organization, made up of Phil Rosati, Melanie Lorino, Drew Nellen, (Alicia) Evelyn Rodriguez, and Sarah Adkins analyzed our distinctive competencies to create three projects that would address specific problems that we saw in the world around those in our organization.
Immediately upon the formation of Team 3, the planning phase began. Four out of five of our organization’s members are full time summer session students as well as full time employees outside of school. Due to the scarcity of time available for our organization’s members, Team 3 determined that the primary goal would be to find the highest output projects with the lowest input. When choosing the project to work on, the actual time involved was a concern that required discussion and compromises during team meetings. Seeking to complete the projects quickly, work began on the first of the three community service projects during the first week of class. To ensure that our group was able to effectively communicate over the course of the summer session, we exchanged email addresses and phone numbers and kept ourselves organized and on time by coming up with our own deadlines for actions to be taken towards delivering the final report to Dr. McAllister.
The planning phase of our project involved deciding the goal of the project and how it would be carried it out. We began by asking our members what problems each of us were aware of. One problem put forth by Evelyn and Phil was the need for care packages to be sent to the troops in Iraq. Further evaluation and analysis of the problem involved obtaining more details from Evelyn, she had spoken with her brother previously about what types of items to send in a care package for the troops and he told her that Iraqi children are more in need than the troops are. The children of Iraq tend to have very few school supplies and the children ask the soldiers for simple things like paper and pencils often. The troops often lack the resources to assist with this request when they often want to help the children. We determined that our best pathway to addressing this problem would be to put together a care package for the children in Iraq instead of the troops. U.S. troops have daily contact with civilians in Iraq and have helped extend the altruism of the United States to Iraq’s people. This would allow us to send our school supplies directly to the troops, who would then disburse them to the Iraqi students. The education system in Iraq has been in a constant state of repair since the fall of the Hussein regime. Saddam Hussein severely under funded and under regulated Iraq’s schools, and as a result, Iraqi children are as unprepared for the modern world as they have been in decades. In fact, 25 percent of primary school-age children in Iraq do not go to school.1 Furthermore, though the reconstruction of Iraq in general has helped to improve conditions, they remain very poor in almost every school. There is a lack of money, and therefore, a lack of learning materials.

As a group we decided that helping Iraqi children with school supplies was a noble cause; our simple plan of a troop care package had transformed into a philanthropic effort on a larger scale. Our U.S. troops are facilitating freedom as well as promoting a caring and positive image of America to the countries in which they are serving. Evelyn’s brother – Javier’s efforts further enhance our country’s commitment to the Iraqi people. To assist in this effort our team wanted to contribute by reaching out to the children of Iraq while giving the soldiers the satisfaction of being able to help the children. We knew we needed to do more than just send some paper and pencils. As college students it was a challenge to remember what a younger school child might find exciting and helpful.

The thought process began and a list of items was generated as a team. We needed to keep in mind that we were sending this a great distance and the supplies would need to be carried by troops that might have other duties when entering Iraqi communities. The supplies we found suitable for this task were notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, colored pencils. As there was a certain financial aspect to our project the number of children we would be able to help was limited. The agreed upon amount was six children per group member totaling thirty children. Sarah provided the team with stores that could be cost effective for this project. The challenge of this project was how to make all the supplies easily transportable for the troops to hand out. Through a combination of collecting cash / item donations from friends and co-workers and purchasing items ourselves, we were able to meet our goal of supplies for 30 children. We packed all thirty bags of school supplies in a box and Melanie shipped the supplies to Javier in Iraq.

Iraqi Children

Courtesy: Operation Iraqi Children Organization2

We are not alone in identifying the need for quality school supplies for Iraqi students. Among the many projects funded by the Iraqi Trust Fund is the American Textbook Provision Policy. Since 2004, this project has been able to finance and distribute almost 70 million textbooks to 6 million Iraqi students.3 We are excited that our small contribution may have helped at least a handful of Iraqi students experience the level of education we enjoy here in the United States.
The need that Iraqi children have for the supplies we sent is considerable and will be appreciated by those in receipt. Our team’s ability to work together and think outside the box led to a successful humanitarian accomplishment. Creativity was necessary at every level of this task in order to address all challenges from coming up with the initial idea through the implementation of the final result.”

Written by metaphysicalperegrine

June 29, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Project: Variety Early Learning Center (Las Vegas Inner City)

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This is a write up of a project a good friend of mine was involved in. What an inspiration.

“Team 3’s first project was a simple donation project aimed at improving the educational experience of 30 of Iraq’s school children. The task to choose a second project required identifying the problems that our members were aware of so that our organization would be socially responsible by taking a proactive approach to our community service projects. Team 3’s approach of finding a problem to address, coming up with alternatives, analyzing and comparing solutions to find the best alternative before implementation would ensure that the solution chosen was optimal and provided the most impact.
Again, through e-mail and team meetings, we coordinated scheduling and deadlines. Creating a community service project that is both meaningful and productive can pose a challenge when the amount of choices is considered. A more in-depth approach was taken when our team began to generate ideas for this task. This particular project focused on the gesture of our action. As a group we wanted to center our ideas on issues that would give us a person or group that we could point at and say this is who benefited from or help. Drew Nellen’s work with a fencing company brought him in contact with the director of The Variety Early Learning Center, Miss Ruby Collins, approximately 10 years ago. Drew had always felt a connection with the 53 year old center because of the center’s location in inner city Las Vegas and it’s cause of helping low income parents provide a head start to their children’s education. Recently the center has been trying to bring their toddler playground up to “no-climb code standards” with the health department by installing tan privacy slats. Over the last few months with the help of a state funded organization and their own funds the Variety Early Learning Center has had the tan slats installed around most of the playground. While looking at a fence needing repairs at the center, Drew noticed that there was a 30-foot section of fence that still needed privacy slats installed in order to be compliant with health department standards.

Drew brought in a picture of the fence and made Team 3 aware of the problem being faced by the center. The center is a non-profit organization and relies on donations, grants and reduced tuition fees to pay for its operating costs. The estimated cost to the center if a contractor was called to do the job would be approximately $500.00.

Pictures of The Variety Early Learning Center’s Unfinished Playground Fence

Team three proposed several alternatives to solve the problem faced by the Variety Early Learning Center. One solution was to volunteer time to help alleviate the operating costs to give the center more funds to spend on fencing. That solution was not the most efficient solution; therefore we chose the best alternative of donating the materials and labor to complete the playground slat project as a team effort. This solution had an advantage over the others because of Drew’s employment by a fencing company. Drew estimated that he would be able to obtain fencing slats from his supplier for approximately $120 dollars. Once this solution was chosen, Drew presented a basic plan of renovating a fence for the Variety Early Learning Center and together we came up with how and when to complete the project. This is where the organizing came in, getting funds together and getting together to get the fence fixed. Drew printed out copies of the project summary, photo of the location, and address for us. In order to accomplish our goal, full involvement from the team was needed. The resources needed for this task were time, labor and materials. We each reached out to our family and friends by generating a flyer to offset the costs of the materials. Due to Drew’s line of work in the fencing industry he was able to get the materials at cost. We feel that be asking others to donate was an innovative way to get the funds that we needed. Also we were able to get the word out about a local organization that is helping the community and in need. Hopefully our work in this area will lead to others wanting to help the Variety Early Learning Center on their own.

Through a combination of personal funds and additional funds contributed by friends and family of the team, we purchased the slats and planned to meet to install the slats together on Saturday the 20 of June at 10:00am. The involvement of the group included physical labor. With the exception of Drew this kind of work was new to us all. Synergy was key in accomplishing this task. By working together we were able to complete the job in a fraction of the time it that would take one person.

fence 2

fence 3

Pictures of Team 3 working on the fence installation

The level of creativity in this project is evident in the way we sought put our resources and applied them to the task at hand. As a group we took a proactive approach in seeking out a cause in the community. Applying our management skills were necessary in the completion of this task because we would not have been able to coordinate schedules, negotiate funds and implement the objective with out such skills. When taking this into consideration this project was a very creative way to relate management to community service. Full group involvement was also vital for this task because without the job would have not been completed.
Another part of impact the project had was on our team. We had good time working together. The group work as team and accomplished the task in a timely manner. Our team is very proud of the job. Miss Ruby was onsite to meet us and was also very appreciative of our work. This helped the team feel more of a connection with the center. Drew’s involvement with this group is essentially what initiated this project. He recognized a need in the community and proposed it to the group. As a team we agreed that the fence for the Variety Early Learning Center was a noble cause and precisely the opportunity we were looking for. We feel that overall objective of reinforcing a much needed fence was a new look on the assignment. A fence is definitely not the foremost idea that any group could have. By coming to this conclusion we feel that we have transcended the traditional ideas of a community project.”

The Completed Fence

The Completed Fence

My friend Sarah Payne says to  “Credit to Melanie Lorino, Drew Nellen, Phil Rosati, and Evelyn Rodriguez, as well, they were my teammates!”

Written by metaphysicalperegrine

June 29, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Troopathon update: Steaming towards $10K!- Hot Air Blog

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The effort to generate care packages for the troops on the front lines continues to go full Steamers ahead!

For info or to donate go here.

Written by metaphysicalperegrine

June 22, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Wounded Warrior Project

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The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower wounded warriors.

Wounded Warriors most noted project is backpacks. Wounded warrior Backpacks contain essential care and comfort items including clothing, toiletries, calling card, CD player, and playing cards, all designed to make their hospital stay more comfortable.  They are provided to severely wounded service members arriving at military trauma centers.

A smaller version of the WWP Backpack, Transitional Care Packs are sent directly to Iraq and Afghanistan to provide immediate comfort during a warrior’s relocation to the U.S. military trauma center.

To find out more, volunteer or donate, click the link above or on the link in “Military” on the right.

PURPOSE

  • To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women,
  • To help severely injured service members aid and assist each other, and
  • To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of severely injured service members.

CORE VALUES

  • FUN
  • INTEGRITY
  • LOYALTY
  • INNOVATION
  • SERVICE

Written by metaphysicalperegrine

June 21, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong.com

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Cancer is such an influence on our lives. If we don’t have it or had it, we probably know someone who does. Every few years I have to go and get, thankfully, benign cancer cells removed from my face. Now I’ve discovered a spot on my back, so will be going to the doc soon. What Lance Armstrong has done with this site is to provide everyone with a guide not only to cancer support, but to cancer prevention, health and lifestyle information. This is a great resource to help yourself stay healthy, but also to help others through donations and volunteering.

Written by metaphysicalperegrine

June 21, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Honor Flight Network

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From the website: Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill. To get involved, make a donation, help out go here .

Written by metaphysicalperegrine

June 19, 2009 at 2:13 am