There are many organizations that contribute to the success and welfare of the U.S. armed forces, but one such organization takes a unique approach in helping service members through the therapy of video games.
Operation Supply Drop brought video game consoles and games to the Central Area and French Creek recreation centers on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Feb. 11.
Operation Supply Drop provides donated digital entertainment care packages for those deployed, in hospitals, installation recreation areas and veteran community services, according to their website.
“Everybody needs fun,” said Raymond Whitaker, Operation Supply Drop chief operating officer and former service member. “We understand that being a single service member, gaming is an outlet, a way to build cohesion, esprit de corps and all those good things.”
There were Xbox Ones and PlayStation 4s along with a plethora of games donated between the two recreation centers.
“We received electronic game systems that are desired by our Marines and sailors,” said Susan Goodrich, Camp Lejeune-New River Single Marine Program branch head. “[Video games] are one of the main reasons Marines come to our recreation centers. Receiving the donations is amazing, especially because we want to keep up with technology because our Marines and sailors deserve it.”
Of the two recreation centers which received donations, there are five more on base and Marine Corps Air Station New River which will receive donations from Operation Supply Drop in the future.
“Marines need to be able to decompress after training or schooling,” said Goodrich. “Having a recreational center in their backyard to be able to come to and release that energy is very important. It is part of what ensures their quality of life and recreational needs are met.”
As a prior service member, Whitaker understands the importance of taking care of others.
“[Operation Supply Drop] is a way for me to continue to serve. I just retired last year and I wanted to continue to serve. This is kind of my way to help you guys every single day,” said Whitaker.
Not only does Operation Supply Drop provide donations to service members, but they also provide “the teams,” which are support groups of veterans, and “thank you deployments,” where a veteran and a supporter get to travel and experience the world.
“I think through life that we learn probably the most important thing is giving back to others,” said Whitaker. “In the military we do it every single day, and I don’t think we realize that every time we deploy, every time we fight our nation’s enemy, that’s what you’re doing. You’re protecting your own and giving back to those around you and those that you love.”