DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - A Valley veteran has found a way to combine his love of country and gaming into a unique non-profit organization: the Veterans Gaming Clan.
Brad Davis served in the Alabama Army National Guard for eight years. The idea for the organization began to grow when he was stationed overseas in Iraq. His mom sent him a PlayStation and some games to pass the time. For Brad, a lifelong gamer, it helped him get through his months overseas. He said, "There's nothing to do, there's no going to WalMart or wherever you want to go. You're just there."
When Brad returned home, he missed the thrill of playing video games with his fellow soldiers, so he started the "Veterans Gaming Clan." It's an online community where retired and active military members from all over the world can get together and game. Right now, there are seventy members from as far away as Europe. Military spouses can also join.
Brad remarked, "When you get in a great game with a great group of guys and things are clicking and you're moving as a unit, it really takes you back."
Despite gaming with fellow comrades, something was still missing. Brad said, "I think everybody deep down has something that they want to do for other people and nobody ever knows what direction they want to go with it."
So he reached out to the Red Cross at Walter Reed Military Medical Center to see if they could use some games or maybe a console for military members rehabbing and recovering at the hospital. Turns out, his call couldn't have come at a better time. Brad remembered the phone call, "She has just checked out her last console, she had nothing else. They had no games newer than 2010, which is a travesty."
That "travesty" was a call to action for members of the gaming clan. They pulled together enough of their own money to buy two Xboxes and some newer games and shipped them out to Walter Reed.
Brad knows it might not seem like much, but hopes that gaming will provide an outlet because, "It's not like when they were back with their units and it can really become the most depressing, darkest time of their life."
As a younger generation starts to fill the beds at military hospitals, the gaming clan realized this is only the beginning of their mission.