As I mentioned on Monday, I've found some creative ways to contribute to the fundraiser this year, since funds are a little tight, as I'm sure they are for lots of folks. Not having extra cash doesn't have to stop us, though, from helping out a good cause.
I spend a fair amount of time out at the ballpark during the season. The Round Rock Express are pretty good about showing support for our military. This past season, I contacted them about their Military Appreciation Night game, and they allowed Soldiers' Angels to set up a table, and we got a pretty prime location, right behind Section 119, directly behind home plate (and in the SHADE!). So, when I got an idea for an item for this year's Valour-IT fundraiser, I made contact with the Express. Nolan Ryan is one of the principal owner. I was given the contact information for Mr. Ryan's assistant in Round Rock.
My idea? Well, I make those fleece tie blankets. In shopping for fleece, I've seen the MLB licensed prints. The Express are the Astros' Triple-A affiliate, but the licensed fleece isn't the current color scheme for the team, and I don't really like it. However, Nolan Ryan - in addition to having been an Astros during his baseball career - was a Texas Ranger and is currently the President of that ball club. The licensed Rangers fleece was perfect: the same good ol' red, white & blue. So, I bought the fleece, made the blanket, then made my proposal to Mr. Ryan's assistant. I hoped to have the 2009 Texas Rangers autograph it so it could then be auctioned off in support of Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT.
Mr. Ryan's assistant passed my request along to the appropriate person with the Rangers organization. Unfortunately, the answer turned out to be a polite "No". Seems they get hundreds of these types of requests... However, there was a counteroffer. If I was interested, I could send the blanket and Nolan Ryan would sign it. Of course, I accepted. I made arrangements to deliver the blanket to the office in Round Rock. I had a lovely chat with Mr. Ryan's assistant. Turns out, her husband was in the Marine Corps, and is a Vietnam vet. In chatting with her, she said they could probably also provide an autographed baseball and photograph. Maybe we could make a "Nolan Ryan package".
Well, folks with more experience with auctions than me recommended not making it a package deal, so we have three separate Nolan Ryan items up for auction in support of Project Valour-IT:
A one-of-a-kind Texas Rangers licensed fleece tie blanket, autographed by Nolan Ryan, comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the Office of Nolan Ryan.
An autographed photo of Nolan Ryan as a Texas Ranger, comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the Office of Nolan Ryan.
A Nolan Ryan autographed Official Major League Baseball, comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the Office of Nolan Ryan.
These aren't the only items I've donated for auction, but the others aren't up yet. Others have also generously donated items for auction, as well. The Valour-IT auction items can be found on eBay, go check them out. As I said, not everything donated is up on eBay yet, so if you don't see something you like, keep checking back. And, if the auction items just aren't your thing, but you still want to contribute to providing laptops and other adaptive technology to our severely wounded Warriors, you can always click that donation button in the upper right-hand corner of the page.