The festivities began Thursday afternoon, with Microsoft graciously opening their doors early for their ID@XBox event, providing special access to our primary Thank You Deployment recipient and a few of his friends. Aaron, a double amputee combat veteran, was able to enjoy the games demoed at the event without worrying about maneuvering through the massive crowd that descend on the Microsoft campus when the public event kicks off. This was the perfect way to start the weekend, as Aaron was able to enjoy some of the games he's been most excited about in a calm, and less crowded environment.
The calm only lasts so long though. On Saturday and Sunday, our Thank You Deployment recipients were bombarded with kindness from a number of companies hosting exhibits at PAX. Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Wildcard Studios, GAEMS and Bethesda were just a few of the companies that did everything within their power to make the weekend as enjoyable and memorable as possible for the soldiers and veterans we brought to the convention.
Speaking on the experience, Regional Director Chance Mcpheron noted "This year was absolutely amazing. We try to avoid jumping long lines and causing traffic jams as much as possible, but it's hard to avoid at times. A lot of the individuals we bring have serious injuries that limit their ability to stand in lines or deal with the overwhelming crowds. Every vendor we approached was more than happy to schedule time for our attendees, and in most cases, they did something a little extra to try and make things special. Some companies just told us to swing by whenever we could and they'd make it happen, Wildcard made special time for our group Sunday afternoon for pics on their awesome dinos, Bethesda made sure everyone got plenty of swag along with VR demos, and Fortnite even put Aaron in a cage to bash a llama pinata. You already love these companies because of their games, then you see them in this craziness of PAX, doing whatever they can to make the day special for a hero like Aaron, and you really begin to appreciate them for the amazing people that make up their teams."
It's the generosity of these companies that help us make the Thank You Deployment program so special. Attending these conventions is just a small part of the equation. When veterans get to visit a company whose games they love and the team welcomes them with open arms, it creates an experience most individuals never receive. It can be a pretty special moment when the creator of your favorite game thanks you for your service and sacrifice. Those special moments are what we aim for, and we couldn't do it without the amazing people working the exhibits at PAX and the many other conventions we send our Thank You Deployments.
PAX West 2017 was another great weekend filled with awesome games, great people, and another amazing after party with our friends at Virtual Sports Northwest. If you would like to get involved with Team Seattle, or any of the OSD NW Teams, you can find more information at our Facebook group -> https://www.facebook.com/groups/OSDNorthwestGrp/?ref=bookmarks