OSD PAX South Get Together a Huge Success!
A few weeks ago, we mentioned that the first major event in Operation Supply Drop’s (OSD) iron sights was PAX South which is no easy mission to take on. A lot of great ideas were formulated and in the end, we decided to change things up a bit and make sure our veterans, team leads, and supporters had a fun time. To say we killed it is an understatement. Don Noble, the Live Events Coordinator for OSD said that OSD “wanted to make sure that we connected with folks who wanted to be a part of something amazing. Instead of setting up some sort of generic pitch to people just passing by we really focused on just having a great time together. The natural law of attraction tells me that if you are having fun, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company, other people will want to be a part of that sort of gathering. We didn’t go to PAX South to sign up thousands of random people to a mailing list that would end up in a deleted folder. Instead we went to PAX South to have a great time with everyone who is a part of our programs, supports us, and those who have really turned into an #OSDfam.”
The plan everyone had discussed came together perfectly for the event. From the minute the boots were on the ground,
attendees could tell there was something different in the atmosphere. Gone were the booths and well-rehearsed elevator pitches. Instead, OSD and their members “made fun where there is none.” As supporter after supporter mentioned, this wasn’t just another event, it was more like a family get-together. Veterans were giving each other a hard time about what branch of the military they served in, while having the respect that we all give to each other for having signed up. Civilians and veterans were spending time at our get together over some wonderful food and drinks. Don summed it up perfectly, “It was amazing to see people who didn’t just want to know about OSD but wanted to get involved. I saw passion. I saw people supporting each other. It was awesome.”
This amazing response was above and beyond what the leadership at OSD expected. As Don mentioned, they wanted to do something different, thank their supporters, thank the many veterans and service members out there, and make sure all had fun in the process. To think it would have an impact on the lives of so many meant so much to the team because they knew they did it right. Gray Hogan, the 8-Bit Salute Community Manager summed it up nicely when he said, “Not only were we able to say thank you to the civilians who have helped our cause, but we were also able to talk to the Veterans and truly thank them beyond a bumper sticker. There are people out there who truly want to help, and it was great getting to talk with them and see the brightness in their eyes.”
An unexpected, but extremely fortunate, side effect of PAX South and the Casa Rio event was the friendships and bonds that were forged. Many of the veterans had been out of the service for a few years. The one thing most miss when they leave is the bonds they formed with their brothers and sisters. Leaving those dear friends behind when they got out left a big hole that needed to be filled. Some who attended said that the event took a big chunk out of that hole. Mr. Delphia, a veteran and Mil-Spec Stream Team Member put it best by saying, “It felt like I was with buddies in my unit and that was really special to me.” And David Ross, a San Antonio Team Member, followed it up with, “The team leads took charge when needed and made the experience
to the fullest while allowing everyone to meet new people and make lasting friendships that will be carried on way past PAX South. Thanks to everyone that showed up and supports us veterans.”
With so much gratitude and thanks being directed our way, to take the credit for the success of the event would be an injustice to the many people who make us so great and helped ensure that we achieved our vision. The many veterans, team leads, and civilian supporters from around the country inspired us to reach for more in the future. These were the men and women who fanned out throughout PAX South and spread the word; these were the men and women who made the Casa Rio dinner such an amazing and fun experience for all; and these were the men and women who we continue to thank for their continued support of OSD and their service to our great nation.
David Ortiz, the San Antonio Veteran Team Co-Leader, one of many OSD supporters and veterans at the event, said, “I couldn’t have asked for a better situation than being able to represent Operation Supply Drop as a veteran in the middle of Military City, USA during the city’s first major event of the year! Last year, word of OSD started to spread in San Antonio during the inaugural PAX South. This year, people were actively seeking us out to thank us, support us, or simply shake our hands! Thank you OSD for giving me the chance to participate and join in on that firsthand interaction!” What’s even more moving to hear is when our civilian supporters reach out and thank us for helping them help our veteran and military brethren. Tim Hamlett, the Chicago Civilian Team Co-Leader, expressed his gratitude when he said, “As a civilian supporter, PAX South was an eye opening experience. I have now seen and met the impacted veterans, I have met more supporters than any before, and I have been able to bond with my friends.” For the newly appointed Teams Program Director, Scott “Mo” Morrison, the weekend event was a great, motivational experience heading into the new job. “This was an eye opener for me as I have come to realize the support OSD has in the community. I met at least a hundred people that support OSD and want to do even more to support veterans across the world.”
Last, but not least, we want to thank the other amazing veteran support organizations out there that teamed up with us to partake in the fun. Melissa Antalek, from the Team Red, White, Blue San Antonio Chapter reached out to thank us for asking them to join in the festivities. “This event was amazing to see so many veterans and community supporters come together for a common interest. Our members really enjoyed the time out together and the amazing food provided. Thank you again for including us in your awesome event!”
This type of support, dedication, and enthusiasm was more than we ever anticipated when Don decided to “turn things on its head” as he bluntly put it. Our veterans, service members, and supporters are why we do what we do. Having felt so much passion from so many people we were able to interact with, we can’t wait to show everyone what’s in store at our upcoming events.