Archive for ‘philanthropy’


Bardzo dziękuję – takk fyrir – danke schoen – thanks.

On Sunday, a few hours after I first posted about Paralyzed Veterans of America, I went to the grocery store and found myself in line behind a wheelchair athlete. That auspicious coincidence made me hopeful that this fundraiser was going to turn out well.

Fourteen donations came from California, D.C., Florida, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Utah, and Australia. Ten people claimed books; three more kind souls donated just for the heck of it.

Three people donated $10 each.
One person donated $12.
One person donated $15.
One person donated $20.
Five people donated $25 each.
One person donated $50.
One person donated $100.
As promised, I donated $75.

The total amount donated by you to PVA: $427.

What can I say? For a three-day fund drive run by a small-time author with a tiny blog, that result is outstanding. I am amazed—and very, very grateful.

I also need to extend a special thanks to several blogs for helping spread the word: Books, Inq., Steven Hart, Unlocked Wordhoard, What’s the Rumpus, and World of Royalty. Encouraging their readers to come over here was a vital contribution all its own.

If PVA holds events in your area, then go, watch, and cheer. You’ll be impressed by the athletes and inspired by their accomplishments. More generally, as people tighten their budgets, donations to groups like PVA are sure to decrease, so in the coming months, keep in mind that your favorite organizations still need you.

Thanks for making this impromptu campaign a success! In a day or two, as the heady rush of philanthropy subsides, this blog will return to its usual preoccupations: medievalism, books, and indispensable Roger Miller chicken medleys.

“Sacré-sacré-sacré-sacré-sacré Charlemagne…”

My Paralyzed Veterans of America fundraiser is still on. It’s simple: If you make a donation to Paralyzed Veterans of America, I send you a free hardcover copy of Becoming Charlemagne.

What are you waiting for? All the details are here. At the time of this posting, I have only four books left. Snag ’em while you can!

(If you don’t act now, I promise that you will be forever haunted by guilt in the form of France Gall singing “Sacré Charlemagne” to you over and over and over again.)

Remember, Charlemagne loved to swim, so the book is perfectly appropriate for the beach or the pool. Or, heck, you can force it on your teenager who’s planning to hike across Europe this summer. The book is free, the cause is good—and did I mention the book is free?

Please spread the word, and let’s raise a little more money for paralyzed veterans this week.

*** UPDATE: 25 June 2008, 12:00 p.m.:

All ten books have been claimed! I’ll post a final tally once I know how much everyone donated. If you’re feeling inspired, it’s never too late to make a donation to PVA: www.pva.org.

“I really love to watch them roll…”

After 20 months of book promotion, I’m left with fond memories, many new friends—and clutter.

I have ten hardcover copies of Becoming Charlemagne sitting in a box. These books went unclaimed at lectures and signings because the dust jackets all suffered minor damage: a tear here, a chip, dent, or crinkle there. Sometimes the damage is barely discernible, and all ten copies are perfectly readable.

So I’m giving them to “Quid Plura?” readers, but with a catch:

1. Go to www.pva.org and make a donation of at least $10 to Paralyzed Veterans of America.

2. Post a comment letting us know you’ve done so. (Anonymity or pseudonymity are fine.) Keep an eye on this, because I have only ten books.

3. Send your address to jeffsypeck -at- gmail-dot-com and I’ll send you a book. Postage is on me. (Also, if you don’t mind, tell me how much you donated so I can give my PVA contact a general sense of our total amount.)

If “Quid Plura?” readers are generous enough to take all ten damaged books off my hands, I’ll make my own $75 donation to PVA. Please feel free to spread the word.

You’re probably wondering why a blog about medievalism is asking you to donate to PVA. Before she retired, my mom, in her role as a secretary for a big corporation, helped secure funding for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. I volunteered at the games in Minneapolis in 2005 and Anchorage in 2006 and met some outstanding athletes: men and women who were paralyzed, and missing limbs, yet still out there golfing on two prosthetic legs, running over dear friends in rugby chairs, or blowing into tubes to navigate an obstacle course.

Some of these vets were injured in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, but others were left paralyzed by workplace accidents, car crashes, strokes, or disease. Many of them, their spouses told me, were depressed and reclusive—until they discovered the doggedly competitive but deeply supportive world of wheelchair sports.

PVA keeps these veterans rolling. The organization pays to send newly injured vets to wheelchair events, they fund research into spinal-cord injuries, and they lobby for disabled veterans’ benefits and rights. The Veterans Wheelchair Games, my favorite of their programs, ensures that veterans who struggle physically, emotionally, and financially can still accomplish astonishing things. If you live near Omaha, you should go cheer them on this year. Frankly, they make us able-bodied people look like wusses. Seeing them compete will change your life.

So, watch this video (part one and part two), be moved, make a donation, help injured veterans, and get a book. Quid plura dicam: What more can I say?

*** UPDATE: 25 June 2008, 12:00 p.m.:

All ten books have been claimed!  I’ll post a final tally once I know how much everyone donated. If you’re feeling inspired, it’s never too late to make a donation to PVA: www.pva.org.