The fireworks may no longer be exploding in the skies, but that doesn’t mean the July 4th holiday is over. Coming out of America’s birthday, Stack Director Stephanie Owens along with volunteers from Stack Up gathered together under the roof of Microsoft’s store for a very special event. The flagship store for the company, the NYC Microsoft Store boasts a secret area where few have access too, but has great power: The eSports and Gaming Studio.
Stack Up and DammmitRooster along with some other amazing Mixer streamers, teamed up to stack up for the troops and raise funds for our armed forces. With Microsoft supplying their eSports and Gaming Studio to the team, DammitRooster and Stack Up were in for an exciting day.
The day began early in the morning, where DammitRooster had already raised $150 dollars in donations by 10 am. The goal for the day was $1,000, which is no easy feat on a holiday weekend. The team consisted of men and women, eagle-eyed gamers that have gone hard in various games.
Beginning with Overwatch, the team worked to protect the payload for several hours, maximizing their skills to put on an incredible game. As the Microsoft eSports and Gaming Studio is a live area, tour groups got a chance to see DammitRooster and Stack Up in action.
Accompanying Stack Director Stephanie Owens were members from the Lehigh Valley Stack, and even a special appearance by Benjamin, the lead from the Boston Stack, Benjamin, along with a new volunteer, took a train in the early morning to make their way to the special event.
Stack Up Rex also made an appearance, and got some air-time over the MIXER stream, much to the delight of the several hundred viewers actively watching the stream. The stacks were an audience, cheering on the DammitRooster team and the online viewers. By mid-afternoon, the momentum of the event was in full swing, with many users actively participating in the event.
During the stream, DammitRooster had the opportunity to interview Stephanie live during the Stream. Stephanie proceeded to explain about Stack Up, the Stack Program, and the newly-created StOP Initiative for mental awareness and suicide prevention. Stephanie’s interview rallied the viewers to learn more about Stack Up and even encouraged those in the online audience to call the studio and share their experiences.
Among them was MIXER partner Soul3ater, a former paratrooper with the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, the “All-American” division. Soul3ater shared her experiences with the Army, her two tours to Iraq, and her other activities within the Army over the course of 10 years.
She went on to say that “gaming literally saved me” after struggling to transition following her honorable discharge from the Army. She found it to be a great coping mechanism during and following deployment as well. For her, Stack Up meant healing, as well as a means to talk about what everyone knows but rarely discusses.
Following her was Sgt Squid, another MIXER streamer who called in while traveling. He did 15 years in the US Navy, including 4 years aboard a ship, which included a multitude of deployments to Iraq, Kuwait, the Mediterranean, RIMPAC, and Afghanistan. Having served over a decade in the military, he found transitioning to civilian life to be very difficult as there is a large gap. Through another mixer team, he found a means to join Stack Up and even be part of their StOP Initiative. For Sgt Squid, Stack meant the ability to help others in any which was you can.
The rest of the day went incredibly strong. Multiple donations came in, including a generous one of $150. Microsoft provided genuine New York Pizza for the entire team, which, as any gamer knows, is the perfect fuel for gaming. As the afternoon carried along, the team moved onto Fortnite, building walls and gunning players down.
At 2:51 pm, DammitRooster smashed their goal of $1000 dollars, making the event a success. As they hit the goal, one member of their team shaved their head, fulfilling a pledge that made earlier in the stream. During the final stretch, the team switched to Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, where they partook in intense matches and received a few more donations for a total of $1056 for the entire day.
Overall, DammitRooster came in and conquered. With the help of Stack Up volunteers and online mixer participants, they were able to achieve their goal, bring some laughs, and raise an important degree of awareness for the purpose of Stack Up, as well as their impact on veterans. Veteran suicide and depression remains a significant health crisis within our society, which 20 veteran suicides occurring daily, according to the Center of Disease Control. The mission of Stack Up, along with stream teams like DammitRooster, help to stem the tide of despair and let those out their know that they aren’t alone.
For those requesting information about the StOP Initiative, or for those that need it, please click here.
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact The National Suicide & Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 available 24/7