Last Saturday, the Boston Stack joined local nonprofits and federal offices at the 2018 Southeastern Mass. Veterans Expo. Located in Raynham Middle School, the expo hosted a variety of organizations dedicated to serving those who serve our country. As the local branch of a military charity, Stack Lead Dylan Connolly and Media Lead Tanner Hastings manned a table at the expo, sharing Stack-Up’s mission to help veterans through our passion of gaming!
The venue got the Boston Stack in contact with local organizers from Veterans Inc., iPods for Vets, the Women Veterans’ Network, and the Marine Corps., among others. While the reception from the predominately Vietnam War era veterans was (understandably) a little lackluster, the Post 9/11 veterans at the event were by and large on board with Stack-Up’s work. An enthusiastic “”That’s AWESOME!”” from one veteran helped to make the Stack’s presence worthwhile.
Apart from confirming an upcoming event with the Jamaica Plain’s VA with one of the attending staff, the most memorable encounter at the expo was a meeting with Frank Whitty, President of the Massachusetts branch for Disabled American Veterans. Stack Lead Connolly spoke with Mr. Whitty for a full ten minutes at the expo, explaining Stack-Up’s work with Warfighter Engaged and our commitment to making the lives of disabled veterans a little easier. Mr. Whitty agreed, and even offered to share some of Stack-Up’s literature with the DAV!
By the time everyone began to pack up their tables, the Boston Stack was about a hundred pamphlets lighter and had a dozen new business cards in their pockets. While there was little time to leave the booth and explore the expo, both Connolly and Hastings managed to track down a few familiar faces and catch up on potential events. The Boston Stack even won a raffle for a Polaroid wireless speaker!
The expo served as a great reminder about just how many services there are for veterans. While Stack-Up offers a particularly niche service to those in the military, it was great to see the more traditional institutions (specifically healthcare) front-and-center at this event, along with some of the smaller, more old-fashioned services like handing out free hand-knitted hats and scarves to veterans. It goes to show just how many people are ready to help the men and women of our military.
Tanner Hastings is a recent graduate from Providence College. After graduation, Tanner landed an internship with a leadership program staffed by officers from the US Special Forces. Through his work with these veterans, Tanner gained a heightened respect for the military, and sensitivity for those who sacrifice to protect their homeland.
As an aspiring writer and lifelong gamer, Tanner contributes to charities like Stack-Up by composing articles about new releases, press conferences, and ways to help veterans through the power of video games.