Jason Parker has one of those so-called dream jobs. He gets to play video games for a living. But he also has a greater purpose while racing and engaging with other gamers.
The two-time military veteran returned from Afghanistan with a traumatic brain injury. He suffered some personal struggles after leaving the Army. Now Parker says he’s in a good place. He holds the title Master Gamer for Tech for Troops.
The nonprofit hosts a specific gaming space where military members worldwide can play and connect.
“It is useful as a tool to get them to open up, and I really like being able to communicate with my brothers and sisters,” Parker said.
Mark Casper, a marine veteran and president of Tech for Troops, says Parker listens for other players that might be having a difficult time and can connect them with help.
Casper is focused on ensuring veterans and military families have the devices to access online and the tools to succeed after leaving military service.
The organization takes in donated computers, tablets and cell phones from organizations and individuals. Even if the devices can’t be salvaged, they still wipe them of all data and the item is recycled.
“We’re almost at 700 tons in seven years," Casper said. "Keeping it out of landfills.”
Tech for Troops also offers online courses to help veterans learn new skills to land jobs and hire veterans.
Casper says oftentimes they see the people they help give back, “We had a combat medic from Vietnam come in one Saturday and he literally brough his computer back after three years and he said, I’m successful now. I’m doing all right. I need to give this to another vet.”
You can print a shipping label for a $20 donation to mail old devices to Tech for Troops.