He Helps Injured Soldiers Write On
updated 09/13/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 09/13/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Blogging from Iraq allowed Army Major Chuck Ziegenfuss to let off steam during his deployment. (My wife, Carren, he wrote in a post, "doesn't need to listen to me ranting from 12,000 miles away.") But soon after he started in 2005, Ziegenfuss was hit by an improvised bomb. He awoke in a hospital with skin missing from his arms, nerve damage and his left pinky gone. "My wife had to brush my teeth," says Ziegenfuss, who would undergo 37 surgeries. But the hardest part was not being able to write as he recovered. That's when a nonprofit, Soldiers' Angels, arranged to get him a laptop with voice-recognition software. "Now I had the ability to interact with the world," says Ziegenfuss, who blogs at tcoverride.blogspot.com and plans to redeploy later this year. He felt others should have the same chance to express themselves and in 2005 worked with Soldiers' Angels to form Valour-IT, which has since donated laptops to 5,000 wounded troops. "It was more than a piece of equipment," says one recipient, J.R. Salzman, 31, an Iraq vet who lost an arm and use of his other hand and now blogs. "It was a lifeline."
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