Newsvine hereby recognizes the excellent contributions by U.S. Army soldier Rob Ballew, from the front lines of Iraq. Not only is Rob putting his life on the line for his country and for the Iraqi people day in and day out, he has also used his Newsvine column to document his experiences in Iraq. Ballew has consistently provided a refreshing view of life from a soldier's point of view, unfiltered and straight up. An Iraqi Freedom Vet and a National Guardsman, Rob puts his money where his mouth is by choosing to serve a second tour in Iraq when offered the choice to stay home and to watch the war from his living room. His dedication and service reflects that of thousands of other soldiers currently deployed to the Middle East - yet Rob has also taken the time to candidly write to the Newsvine community about his experiences as a soldier. Conflicted and sometimes even regretful, always courageous, humble, optimistic and steadfast - Rob shows us the human side of the conflict that is never captured by statistics and analysis by people at arm's length from the battlefield.
We look forward to hearing more reports from Rob Ballew, and the Newsvine Team hopes for his continued good health and safety. Congratulations, Rob - for receiving Newsvine's highest distinction, the Random Act of Vineness award.
We would also like to thank Jim Dent and the other Newsviners who made Rob's continuing reports from Iraq possible by chipping in and working together to purchase and deliver a laptop computer to our guy on the front lines. Only a Community like ours could pull something like this off. Hats off to all of you.