Operation Supply Drop Strengthens Military-Civilian Relations at Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Devin Givens felt a sense of pride when he accepted a certificate of appreciation from the Warrior Transition Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in May 2016. Over the past year, Givens and Operation Supply Drop have supported the battalion, whose main mission is to provide support to wounded soldiers and prepare them for either a return to duty or transition to the civilian life.
Givens is gratified by what OSD accomplishes by supporting wounded soldiers and their families through local gatherings, events and Supply Drops.
“The activities that we have provided to JBLM have given families an opportunity to celebrate that they might not have otherwise had,” Givens said. “When you see the veterans who have returned home injured smiling and playing with their family, it leaves no doubt in my mind that we have made an impact at JBLM.”
Givens found his passion in Operation Supply Drop after he experienced an injury himself, which has left him confined to a wheelchair for nine years. Givens struggled through the injury and felt withdrawn from society.
“I alienated myself and I felt like no one could relate to me,” he said. “Many veterans who come back tell me that they have those same feelings of isolation. I think I am able to connect with veterans because I was in that same mindset after my injury.”
But he did not let his injury stop him and he hopes that he can impart that attitude to veterans as well as create opportunities for veterans to socialize and find community during and after their military experience.
“OSD helped me overcome the negative mindset that I had and I try to embody that to everyone we work with to show them it’s possible,” he said. And Givens and the local Seattle OSD chapter have made a difference in the community, as many of the soldiers in the Warrior Transition Battalion will attest to.
“I was blessed with PTSD and the depression and anxiety that come with it,” one soldier said. “Being part of the local group has given me the opportunity to give back to the community, which helps me with my depression. I am giving back to a cause I believe in, in a meaningful way.”
The local Seattle OSD chapter is already 300 members strong and growing. Givens has a lot of ideas for the future including fundraisers, a family day and setting up a system to help homeless veterans.
“There’s so much room for opportunity,” he said. We’re excited about what we have accomplished and what we can do in the future.”