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The benefit tour... Home for our Troops

We were at the inaugural Charity Gala hosted by the American Council for Technology (ACT) and its Industry Advisory Council (IAC) at Union Station here in Washington, D.C. last night.

The black tie gala benefited Homes for our Troops, an amazing non-profit organization that works to help provide homes for troops who have returned with serious disabilities and injuries. The group also builds new or adapts existing homes to make them handicapped accessibility.

Homes for Our Troops has recently been featured on ABC's ""Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

You can read more about the event in this week's Circuit.

Attending last night was Joseph "Doc" Worley, who retired from the Navy. Worley was in Iraq and was injured on September 17, 2004 while rushing to the aid of a wounded comrade. Worley was the victim of an improvised explosive device that "tore off my leg below the knee," he said. Even worst, he then was under gunfire -- he took five shots, three to his right leg and two to what was left of his left leg.

Worley, who is 6-4, said that two years after getting back, he has been dealing with the "frustrations that it is different from what I had been," he said. He was always the guy that people called when they needed help moving stuff, he noted. And now he is on the other end of that -- getting help.

On Saturday, John Gonsalves, the president and founder of Home for our Troops, handed over the keys to Worley's new home, which is essentially designed for him -- fully accessible.

"It seems so unreal," Worley said, and eventually, the English language just fails you -- there is no other way to say 'thank you.' "And it's uncomfortable to keep hugging men," he joked.

"Taking away some of the worries that these guys have is one of the biggest blessings," he said. It's so great, he said, to have the backing of an organization that has helped you more than anybody can ever fully know.

The gala had a general auction, but they also just had an auction where people to donate various amounts of money to Homes for our Troops. Certain amounts enabled Homes for our Troops to build a shower that an injured soldier could get into easily... another amount for a wheel chair rap... another amount for a wider door... and even an amount for a certain amount pays for nails.

I'm sure we'll get the tally, but clearly there was thousands of dollars raised.

On a personal note, whether one agrees or disagrees on the Iraq war itself, I am really proud of the way this country is treating the warfighters. We clearly learned our lesson from the way vets from the Vietnam War were so unfairly treated -- and I think most Americans have said to themselves, consciously or unconsciously, that the would not do that. And even as support for the Iraq war has plummeted, people still support those who are there doing what we have asked them to do.

It is interesting because I had been picking up some grumbling about the event. There are, after all, many galas these days -- there are so many events and many other benefits. (Yes, even we had added to that with our Rising Star awards program.)... And even I was grumbling that I had to go. But if nothing else, these things are a good reawakening of what we have -- and the situation that the warfighters have to endure for us.

God speed to all of them. Regardless of what anybody thinks about the war, I'm sure we all hope they call can return home soon.

And a special thanks to Angela Drummond, the chief executive officer of SiloSmashers, who was the chairwoman of the event. Nice job!

We'll have photos in next week's issue... and this week, we'll get photos on FCW.com Download's Community.gov gallery.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Sep 10, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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