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Air Assault - May Phalanx Trip

We talk a lot about our Supply Crates program and shared loads of updates from Supply Crates that received responses. We have more responses than ever before, and our Supply Crates program is our easiest to showcase. As a result, our Air Assault program has not been getting the love it deserves.

Like Bowser, the Air Assaults program also needs love.

Through our Air Assaults program, Stack Up takes a group of 2-3 Veterans out for an all-expenses-paid weekend trip. The places we visit range from geek culture conventions such as Penny Arcade Expo, Gen Con, Twitchcon, and other geek culture events, or with the addition of Phalanx House, a weekend in Los Angeles at our have for Veteran gamers equipped with all the nerdy amenities we could fit. Read more about Phalanx on our Phalanx page.

In the words of Mario: Lets-a-go!

During the month of May, we brought out two Veterans, Aaron & Joe, to Phalanx House. From their applications, they told us the following about themselves and why they applied:

Aaron | BetterActions | Army | Active Duty

Aaron's request:

I am a 19 year veteran who is preparing to separate from the Army via retirement. I joined as an 88M truck driver and reclassed into a Public Affairs Rep and have been doing that for the last 11 years. I love my job.

Aaron's bio:

My name is Aaron Knowles. I joined the Army in 2004 at the age of 18. I started my career as an 88M (Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Operator), and after 8.5 years, I decided I wanted a new challenge, so I changed jobs to Public Affairs. I have loved it ever since. 11 years going and one year from retirement, I now hold a degree in communications, and I have used my love for writing to start a nonprofit, write articles and take photos for other nonprofits, and spread my love of gaming and positive attitude to others around the world. Gaming and community have helped me deal with depression, anxiety, and other issues that people don’t normally see when they look at me, but the scars are there. I have made friends and found support through gaming that has probably saved my life countless times.

Joe D. | Obiwoncanolii | National Guard | Veteran

Joe's Request:

I have been working with Stack Up since I met the team at Twitchcon 2019. I have ran multiple events yearly and saw the impact first hand at conventions such as PAX East and Twitchcon. I am a disabled army vet and have another child on the way and don’t have the finances to afford events. I am battleing my service connected disabilities and new medications. Air assault would allow me to meet and bond with other veterans and the stack up crew. It would allow me to open up an out of my shell. I miss that brotherhood an comraderie of other soldiers around me.

Joe's bio:

Hi, I'm Joe, also known as ObiWonCanolii in the streaming/ gaming world. I served in the Army National Guard from 2010-2018. I got to help my community, from multiple natural disasters to the Boston marathon bombing and a deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I'm currently working full-time in the DOD sector, being able to support my fellow brothers and sisters in arms and working on a college degree, and raising a family. Gaming has always been a big part of my life. While deployed, it was a great way to break away and get lost in another world. We would have LAN parties with a bunch of soldiers and laugh and boost morale. Today I have taken up streaming games on Twitch which has allowed me to break my comfort zone, meet great people from all over the world and help my mental health.

We started the Air Assault program to treat our Veterans who may need to regain that sense of camaraderie they're missing from their Military service out for a weekend of fun. Some Veterans post-service are struggling with mental health or physical health that make it difficult for them to get out to places, especially when large amounts of people are involved. It helps to have a team around ready to take care of you sometimes, which is where we step in.

During our May trip, we took Aaron and Joe out for a spin around some of our favorite places in L.A., from Funko Hollywood to Universal Studios. The highlight of this trip, however, was a visit to Riot Games' studio, where their Veteran employees showed our guys around.

After the trip, we asked Joe and Aaron to share some highlights from their point-of-view on their Air Assault:

Joe D. | Obiwoncanolii

It was an amazing experience. Got to link up with another vet streamer I met online and happened to attend the same Air Assault as me. Made new friends, and got to know the local Stack Up team. Really enjoyed touring LA, such as Venice beach, Hollywood, local restaurants, universal studios and the Star Wars themed bar scum and villainy. The Phalanx House was great, played some arcade games such as Metal Slug and jumped on some PCs and played Marauders. I made sure to unwind in the hot tub. I also played my first rpg board game of Fallout as Marvin the robot who spoke with a borat accent haha.

Aaron | BetterActions

My experience was great! I loved seeing some of the amazing things that Los Angeles has to offer. What I think would be a great addition to the trip, would be activities w/ Veterans or service members. Things that build skills, help teach relaxation techniques. They can be voluntary. Maybe take people to a Yoga Session, or on some kind of skill building experience that way they not only get to experience things, relax and have fun, but they also leave with skills or experiences that may benefit them in the long run.

We do happen to know some chiropractors in the area, so we'll take some of those suggestions into mind, Aaron. Air Assaults can make requests as to what they want to see and do, but we also know that once they're out, sometimes they get into whatever we have planned and forget to ask.

As another bonus to this trip, ObiwonCanolii made a video from his trip to show off some of what he saw and experienced.

Major thanks go out to Karmakut, who raised over $10k to make this trip happen. It's a huge sum to fundraise, and our Air Assault trips are well worth it when we can engage our Veterans this way! Hopefully, these guys will continue to hang around with us. In the meantime, check out Karmakut on Twitch.

Shoot for the highest of Stack Up fundraising goals and sponsor an Air Assault trip by answering our Call to Arms. Hit the Phalanx Coin button below to get started:

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