In the past 18+ months, Front Towards Gamer’s military charity wing, Operation Supply Drop, has grown exponentially, reaching out and helping full rifle companies worth of deployed soldiers with giant care packages stuffed full of video games. Over $55,000 of games and gear have been donated to the cause since we first “opened our doors for business” spanning across 24 care packages to a variety of military disciplines throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.
As the founder of the organization, my military service and contacts have served me well in getting things off the ground. But, to be honest, I was never really a great soldier. When I had the uniform on, I was constantly day dreaming about video games, especially given the fact I was “Shanghai-ed” into staying in the Army four years past the original date I was planning on getting out (thanks to the magic of military “Stop Loss” program following 9/11). You know that feeling when you’re asked to stay late at work on Friday when you really, really wanted to start your weekend? Now imagine that feeling for four years. When I left the military in 2006, my military mentality and bearing (and haircut) got put into a duffel bag and was angrily thrown into the attic, never to be looked at again (or so I thought).
The problem with running a military charity is that if we want to take Operation Supply Drop to the next level, I’m going need to dust off my “civilian-to-military” language translator, roll up my sleeves, and really start getting back into the military mindset. To help Operation Supply Drop help get reconnected back in with the military, we’re bringing in an military expert to sit on the Operation Supply Drop board of directors (yes, we have one of those).
As of the 4th of July, 2012, fellow 82nd Airborne Division brother Mr. Mark Christianson, the owner of military-centric video game website Off Duty Gamers, has joined the Operation Supply Drop board of directors. It is fairly sad that as an ex-hard charging Airborne Ranger like myself had to ask Mark to come in and act as a “military advisor”, but seeing as his website Off Duty Gamers in run by all military personnel and they specialize in linking up ex-military personnel with video game developers/publishers for consulting, he stays on the cutting edge of all things military at all times (and yes, that includes the haircut).
“I consider it an honor to further my work honoring those who serve through such a great program that aims to give back during some of our troops hardest times.” said Christianson “The men and women serving their country and defending us more than deserve the brief mental break that Operation Supply Drop provides.”
So let’s go ahead and welcome Mark and his team on! I’m sure we can expect great things in the future between our two organizations!