The Devin Givens Award For Selfless Service
By Staff Writer Jason Carter
Devin Givens is a long time civilian contributor to the OSD community, and someone who has been an intricate part of OSD Seattle over the years. In 2007, at the age of 16, Devin was involved in a serious ATV accident that changed his life. The accident shattered Devin’s 4th and 5th cervical vertebrae, bruised his spinal cord, and left him paralyzed. After the accident, Devin became extremely introverted and withdrew from the outside world. “At that point [in my life] I wasn’t in a very good place,” Devin says. “I was barely leaving the house, barely talking to anyone.” And when Devin did leave the house, it was mostly for necessities, such as filling medications, attending doctor’s appointments, or to exercise. Very rarely did Devin leave his home to spend time with friends.
Six years after his injury, Devin met Chance Mcpheron, OSD Northwest Regional Director. Devin says it was Chance who encouraged him to get out of the house and rejoin the community. The story goes that one day, Chance needed help with a 24 hour charity streaming event, and posted a request for help on Facebook. Devin, seeing the post, reached out to Chance because he wanted to be involved. “When all was said and done,” Chance says, “he was one of the only people who supported the event in any way other than watching. He actually streamed and participated in the event. But I couldn’t get him to get out of his house.” That, however, all began to change the following year.
In February of 2015, Chance was heading the launch of the OSD Seattle chapter and invited Devin out to the team’s opening event. “He came out to the first event that we had,” Chance says, “and he has been at literally every event the team has ever had since.” Then, a few months later, when a leadership position opened up that needed to be filled, Devin’s hyper dedication to the team made him the immediate choice to fill the position. Devin has since served as the Seattle chapter’s Civilian Team Leader, and has become both an outstanding leader and valuable member of the OSD team. Despite his the adversities that resulted from his injury, Chance says, “Devin is constantly and always putting the team and everything he can ahead of that.” With such dedication to serving others and giving back to the veteran community, Devin’s actions did not go unnoticed.
On August 12, 2018, Scott Morrison, OSD’s Chief Community Officer, flew out to Devin’s home state to present him with the inaugural Devin Givens Award for Selfless Service. “Over the last couple of years I’ve watched [Devin’s] dedication to our community,” Scott says, “and he is truly the epitome of a chapter leader when it comes to selfless service.” It just so happened that Devin’s award came at a time of year that is normally associated with the negative thoughts and feelings, his 11 year injury anniversary. However, “This time of year,” Devin says, “no longer only has a reminder of a negative time, but holds a moment to be proud of.” “I honestly never would expect to be given an award for trying to give back to a community that has helped me grow,” Devin says, “let alone have the award be named after me. However I couldn’t be more proud to have my name attached to an organization that values the impact on people’s lives so highly.”
Going forward, the Devin Givens award for selfless service will be OSD’s annual award to recognize individuals within the OSD community for their dedication and service to the active duty military, veterans, and family members within the OSD community. Such an award is important because it will highlight the contributions of outstanding individuals like Devin, so that their names will be known throughout the community.
Devin’s time with OSD Seattle is quickly coming to an end, as he prepares for an upcoming move with his family to Phoenix, Arizona, and the next chapter of his life. “I’m excited for OSD Phoenix to pick up such an awesome dude,” Chance says, “but it’s a bummer that we’re losing him. And I’m so glad that he got the award. I don’t think there is anybody better suited, that’s for damn sure.”