- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2009

Family members graduate from high school once - a milestone that captures their hard work and achievements. Yet, while deployed, service members often miss those special moments in their relatives’ lives.

Through a partnership between LTI DataComm, a supplier of network solutions and services to the federal government, and VBrick Systems Inc., the leader in Enterprise IP Video solutions, D.C.-area high school graduations will be streamed on-demand through VBrick’s online streaming service free of charge.

“This is a great way we feel we can use our strengths to give back to our troops,” LTI Marketing Director Angela Inguillo said. “We are trying to bring them a little closer to home.”

As of July 6, a total of 28 schools are participating in the program by recording their graduations for live streaming. Military members can access the footage by visiting www.vbrick.com/graduation and clicking on a particular high school.

Vbrick partnered with LTI as part of its Community Outreach Program. The program was created by LTI employees a few months ago.

“We were looking at ways to supply what we do to the military, which is one of our biggest customer bases,” said Colin Coyle, field engineer for LTI and program leader. “I approach everything with a technical perspective. … But I do have a good number of friends in the military service who are starting families, and the project started to mean more to me. How wonderful would it be if I were able to help them to be there? It started out as just a technical solution to a need that was identified, and now it’s become a personal matter to me. It makes me proud that my work can help out the military families.”

LTI employees utilized Operation Homefront to reach a greater number of people and get their message out, said Mrs. Inguillo. Operation Homefront is a nationwide nonprofit that “provides emergency assistance and morale to our troops, to the families they leave behind and to wounded warriors when they return home,” according to its Web site.

Operation Homefront D.C. Chapter President Vivian S. Dietrich worked with regular military families who have deployed family members. She sent out e-mails and made phone calls to try to identify families who have relatives abroad that might be interested in LTI and VBrick’s new program.

“The program itself meshed very well with our mission here at Operation Homefront,” Mrs. Dietrich said. “We are very aware of the many challenges the families face when they have a member overseas. When LTI approached me … I thought it was just a natural approach for our mission. It’s not only meant for the serviceman overseas. It’s meant for the child and the family.”

The program was brought to Operation Homefront’s attention in May, and the organization began to find as many families they could in a very short time.

“The way we work with families is we stay in touch with the family support group and the different military organizations,” Mrs. Dietrich said. “We have a base of people we can go to put out e-mail blasts and make phone calls to identify families with members who are graduating. When we found the families, we would identify the potential of the program and if it would be something they would be interested in. I think this is something that families would definitely benefit from.”

To participate in the video streaming, schools need to sign up at www.ltidata.com/graduation and click on the “schools wishing to participate” link. They will receive information kits that include materials to be distributed to graduating students with deployed military relatives. The schools provide LTI with a copy of graduation ceremonies on VHS or DVD in Windows Media format. An on-demand broadcast of the ceremony is accessible within two days of receiving the broadcast from the school.

Joanna Brenner is a recent journalism graduate of James Madison University and a freelance writer in the D.C. area.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide