With PAX South 2018 rapidly approaching we wanted to take a moment to introduce you to the incredible Veterans who will be joining us on what will be the first of many Air Assault missions in 2018! Our Air Assault program is where we hand-pick deserving veterans and bring them, all expenses paid, to attend life-changing video game and geek culture events, whether it be a Comic-Con, an Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), a Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) or even a game developer studio tour.
With the help of our local Stacks providing support, we make sure those veterans have a weekend that they will never forget! This year at PAX South will be no exception, so read on to learn about the amazing veterans who will be making the trip alongside us!
Favorite Video Game Franchises/Studios/Publishers: Tom Clancy games, and Call of Duty
Favorite Twitch Streamers: DrDisRespect, JoshOG
My name is Michael Ingram, but I go by Jake. I joined the Marine Corps in 2007 and I EAS’d in 2011. I enjoyed my time in the Marines, wanted to do more but unfortunately, after a back injury I wasn’t able to continue my career.
I deployed to Iraq in 2008 to 2009 where most of my time was spent in Sin Jar. As a Marine, I was a diesel mechanic and wrecker operator, the best job I ever had.
Since getting out in 2011, life has been rough, run-ins with the law and letting the bottle become my best friend. With health issues my PTSD and other issues, I pretty much just stay home all the time, but video games I’ve found relax me and help me forget about everything else.
I discovered Twitch where I came across JoshOG, after watching him and the positivity he puts out I was hooked, then came DrDisRespect, man, he’s awesome. Because of those two streamers my life I feel is better.
I recently got a gaming PC, a bit of a noob, but still have my XBox, my console of choice and play a variety of games. I’ve even tried the streaming thing a couple of times, it’s ok just got to get used to it. Then throughTwitter, I found Stack Up after being recommended by a friend and have been a follower ever since, and put in a request a few months back, because I knew it’d be something I’d like to experience.
Favorite Video Game Franchises/Studios/Publishers: Huge VR fan and Rift owner. Big fan of Naughty Dog, Bungie, really looking forward to the new Dragonball FighterZ
Favorite Twitch Streamers: John and Michelle from Video Game Outsiders, Dr. (dr… dr) Dis (dis… dis) Respect (spect… spect)
Hello, my name is Randy Holland. I’ve been married to my lovely wife Monika for 5 years and I have 2 amazing boys, Kristian and Bryce. I served in the United States Navy from June of 2004 to June of 2008 as an Aviation Electronics Technician. I deployed on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower during her 2006 cruise in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
As an AT, I spent a lot of time with electronics and computer savvy people, many who were lifelong gamers. I remember having a private LAN networked on the Ike purely for the ATs throughout AIMD to share games and media. Many of us turned to gaming as a familiar escape when stress was high. I remember missing the birth of my son while at sea and coping with relationship problems and how useful and comforting it was to have checkpoints to reach and double kills to get. Gaming was a huge part of my military career and gave me companionship when I needed it.
Back on shore, the guys from my shop would all log in at night to party up on Halo 3 or Modern Warfare and those moments really cemented our friendships in and out of work. As a civilian, my friends’ lists have dwindled, and I tend to seek out gaming now for peace and quiet. I’ve built a few gaming PCs and now enjoy gaming with my ten-year-old son and occasionally my wife. I recently purchased an Oculus Rift and that has completely taken over my game library. When I can get away from responsibilities, I love the immersion into new worlds that virtual reality offers.
My love for gaming led me back to school a few years ago in an attempt to get into art and gaming animation. The curriculum was a lot to digest and I had trouble advancing in my current field while studying art. I changed my major back to cybersecurity, and I now do graphic design and animation in my free time. It’s too bad I didn’t get to live out my dream job but at least I gave it a try. I’m glad that my military experience gave me opportunities to work in the field that I do, and I’m glad my work is able to still service the military.
This is a really humbling moment for me. I’m no hero, and any hardships I perceived in uniform pale in comparison to what others have endured for this country. I want to make sure my involvement with Stack-Up leads to more and more service members getting these life-changing chances to be apart of something amazing. Please know that your support earns mine, and I’ll do whatever I can moving forward to help and promote this remarkable organization.
We are honored and privileged to be able to give back in some small way to these two people who through all aspects of their lives exemplify service and sacrifice. Thank you, Jake and Randy, for your service and for Stacking Up with us for PAX South!
The first convention of the year is shaping up to be a very good time for everyone involved. We have a fun-filled weekend with plenty of gaming and geekery for these two amazing Air Assaults, and we will share it all with you so check back after the convention for our PAX South Air Assault wrap-up!
If you are attending, make sure to stop by our booth #10005 and learn more about how you can get involved with Stack-Up and help us bring even more amazing veterans like Randy and Jake to great conventions like PAX South!