GEXCon Backdrop for Operation Supply Drop Veterans Outreach in Fredericksburg, Virginia
Gaming is reaching new fans as the industry grows – fans who want to connect with each other not only virtually but in real life. Breaking the stereotype of the introverted gamer, gaming conventions offer a new platform for gamers to participate in events like live competitions, cosplay, and meet and greet sessions with their favorite writers, voice actors, and artists. A group of Veterans and civilians from Operation Supply Drop attended such an event recently in Virginia as the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center played host to GEXCon. Billing themselves as “THE Gaming and Entertainment Experience Convention,” GEXCon provided two full days of non-stop opportunities for mandatory fun for the over 75 veterans and service-members hosted by Operation Supply Drop.
Operation Supply Drop’s both buzzed, thanks to the prime location provided by event organizers and their strong support of OSD’s mission and our nation’s veterans. The convention crowd responded well to our presence and wanted more information on how to get involved. “I think people responded to a Veterans’ charity using gaming to help troops,” said Steve Rodriguez. “I think some gamers were proud to share that in common with Veterans – as much as I am proud to call myself a gamer! I wear my nerd badge right next to Veteran badge and it was awesome meeting new gamers.”
In addition to information and camaraderie, OSD was giving out gaming swag. Loot Crates and t-shirts were big hits with the crowd. Gray Hogan, OSD’s Community Manager and a member of the OSD Fayetteville team, considered these giveaways a highlight of the weekend. “The end, where we gave away prizes, was the best. We did it live via Twitch stream, with Twitch star THE Lauralania. Dennis Wiltshire, the Chief Executive Officer of FIAD Entertainment Group, gave OSD a gift from Harmonix, a Rock Band set to send out in a Supply Drop.”
As usual, the OSD members in attendance maximized this opportunity, taking in all of the sights and experiences. Rodriguez, a veteran who leads a Team chapter in South Carolina for OSD, was not only helping spread the word about OSD’s Deployment and Community programs, but he was taking in all of the excitement of his first convention. “Being my first convention I wasn’t sure what to expect,” recounts Rodriguez. “I was just blown away at the experience. A little bit of something for everyone!” It was an experience he’s looking forward to repeating when OSD returns next year.