[Respawn] How Madden Allows Wounded Warrior to Stay Connected and Overcome Adjustment Challenges

Respawn success provides early Christmas for retired US Army veteran and his family

It’s no secret that OSD has deep roots in the video game world.  It was the initial reason we set out to make a difference with Service by sending “video game care packages downrange” starting in 2010.  Fast forward to 2017, gaming still plays a meaningful role in what we do and how we do it, but the why is often overlooked.

We were recently contacted by the spouse of a wounded Service Member [Vincent] who asked us to help her husband with some of his struggles that he’s faced since being injured while serving in the Army.  Since leaving the Army, Vincent shared with us that he was struggling with the adjustment to civilian life.  His wife contacted us with the hope that we could help.  

Historically, we typically work with units and larger bodies of people.  There are times like this one, however, that we love being able to make a huge difference for a single family and do so a few times each month.  Over the past couple years, I’ve personally lost several of my Soldiers to suicide.  When you’re faced with situations like that, it’s not uncommon to dissect the whole situation surrounding the death and wonder what you could have done to prevent it.

Vincent’s wife wanted to surprise him with a video game care package that she thought would help him with some of his mental health issues.  When I talked to her, I asked about several different things.  One of the biggest was if he was still in contact with the guys he served with while in the Army.  She confirmed that he definitely is and wanted to see if there was a way to get him better connected with them.  After a lengthy conversation about everything, I asked her to contact his guys and see what kinds of games they were playing so that we could help him get set up in a situation where they could all play together online.  She gave me a wish list and some of the specs they would need to get him up and running.  

Our team got a great package together for him including a Playstation 4 with games and portable monitor from GAEMS. The package went out quickly and we were able to surprise him before Christmas.  Vincent shared with us that he has issues with anxiety.  Being able to play games helps him relax and prevent the toxicity that anxiety often takes him.  It’s stories like this where I feel like I’ve been able to help that single person get right in their head.  Our focus at OSD is to help build strong and resilient communities and video games won’t always be the right answer.  The challenge for you and us is to identify what we can do to make the greatest impact to specific individuals then fold them and their families back into a community providing the foundation to continue onward.