November 11th is when America celebrates its veterans with fake celebrations and empty praise, when so many veterans need food, housing, healthcare, therapy, disability benefits, and jobs.
In fact, the situation for a lot of veterans is so dire, an average of twenty-two American veterans take their own lives every year.
This is one of the reasons for our OP: Damage Control fundraiser every year. We use the opportunity to raise money to benefit Maine Veterans Project, a fantastic organization based out of Bangor. Maine veterans helping Maine veterans. MVP is not as big or well-known as the national charities like the Travis Mills Foundation or the Wounded Warrior Project, but there is a much smaller overhead, and the money MVP can raise stays in the State.
The entire focus of MVP is to help keep Maine veterans safe – to reduce the number 22. If you follow them on social media, you’ll see that they (and founder Doc Goodwin) tirelessly work to meet the needs of Maine veterans; everything from food drives to helping veterans get the resources they need to survive. Maine presents another challenge as well: the need for heat. Just recently, MVP worked with a local plumbing company to make a veteran’s house safe and much more energy efficient with an upgraded heating system.
But survival is not enough.
As you know, SAASMaine has been diligently working to increase the number of AEGs in our rental fleet. One of the huge motivating factors for this investment is so that we can host larger groups who don’t have their own equipment. In this case, veterans.
Starting in 2023, we will have monthly airsoft games for veterans (and a +1) at no cost to them.
“Whoa, wait,” you’re saying, “you want to put people with potential PTSD in another combat situation??”
Yes. Yes we do.
One of the big draws to airsoft for a lot of people is that for a few hours it helps players forget how shitty the world can be. And we’ve had combat veterans come play, and they have overwhelmingly sung the praises of the positive impact that playing airsoft has had on them. The benefits of airsoft aren’t just for veterans though – everyone can benefit from running around in the fresh air for a few hours.
So while we haven’t worked out all the details yet, it’ll be another long Northern Maine winter, so we have plenty of time to hash out all the details. Hopefully we’ll be able to drag Doc away from his work at MVP long enough to get him up here this year!
HUGE thanks to Dan at Tactical Parts who has worked with us to provide players with amazing rental AEGs. As you may know, this past spring we had pre-ordered a couple each of the KWA KO EVE-4s and EVE-9s, and we were honestly blown away by the quality of these builds. Despite being made of a lightweight, but strong, polymer, they proved themselves to be as tough as AEGs with metal externals. We weren’t concerned about the internals, since KWA equips the KO series with the same 2.5+ VPS gearbox as the TK.45c, Ronin T6, QRF Mod Series, Ronin 47. Since we personally own both a QRF Mod.1 and Ronin 47, we knew the performance would be competitive, but for the price point, everything else on the EVEs met and exceeded our expectations.
Let’s face it: rental players are not “easy” on rental AEGs. They get dropped, thrown, dragged through mud, dropped in puddles… and each of our EVEs were no exception. But what sort of maintenance have we had to do on them? They were each wiped down with a damp cloth.
Yup. That’s it. (Well, we cleaned the barrels too because Bear is OCD like that.)
So when we had to decide what to get to add to our rental fleet, it was an absolute no-brainer. We reached out to Dan at tacticalparts.com and ordered up a couple more EVE-4s. Towards the end of this year, we’ll order up a couple more EVE-9s. This will put the number of available rentals at 12. 8 KWAs and 4 rebuilt S&Ts (which we are still having issues getting to survive an entire season).
This past year, though, the KWAs were overwhelmingly chosen over the S&Ts, which are a more “classic M4” style. Players commented on how amazing the EVEs looked and felt, and honestly, they’re not wrong. The EVEs are a sleek smart design and are just comfortable to hold. The fact that they weigh less than 5 and 6 pounds, respectively, also means there’s no aching shoulders or backs at the end of the day. Our rental players can run hard and fast and both they (and their rental AEGs) can better keep up with our regulars.
Or in the case of our monthly veteran games, so we can host more people.
Thank you all for your support, and please remember that veterans are veterans year-round; not just on November 11.