Military Wives Form Non-Profit to Equip Troops with Video Games

There may not be, as the saying goes, any atheists in foxholes.

But there certainly are plenty of gamers.

A non-profit group is hoping to keep those gamers relaxed between missions by collecting games and systems for deployed U.S. military personnel.

As reported by the Bucks County Courier-Times (in GP’s neck of the woods, actually), Fun For Our Troops was started by military wife Stefanie Doctor Shea. Sgt. Michael Shea, her husband, was recently deployed for a second tour of duty in Iraq. The Sheas are seen in the photo at left, taken on the day Sgt. Shea left for Iraq.

Choosing video games as the focus of her support efforts was far from a random choice. Before her husband shipped out the couple spent a lot of their down time enjoying the Nintendo Wii at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Dana Blackman Brady, married to a former Army Ranger, is partnering with Stefanie in the effort to get games to service personnel. She commented:

What [the troops] really appreciate over there are the true comforts of home. The stress relief and the escapism involved in these games, we really think could be beneficial.

We’re hoping to get  throughout the year. We don’t want to have [soldiers] wait. We do foresee the issues with Christmas. It’s going to be a crunch for those games.

Although the Defense Department provides no support to such efforts, the women have worked out a plan for getting the games to the troops. Stefanie Doctor Shea described the program:

We are working on an official website which will allow troops to sign themselves up as recipients or family members can sign them up. They will also be able to tell us what, if any, systems they do have so we can donate appropriate games.

Hopefully the site will be up in the next week or so (we have someone donating their services to build the site).  We are willing to work with all branches of the military but the recipients themselves must be on a deployment.  Our intention is that the equipment we send over will be passed on to troops in the unit that will replace them. 

Donations can be made via the group’s website.  

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  1. 0
    Sefphar says:

    You know, the Nintendo store near Rockefeller Center in Manhattan has a first generation Gameboy that was partially burned up in the Persian Gulf War and is still running to this day.

  2. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    ah the first golf war I can remember it now… the first President’s bush playing golf int eh sands…for acouple years.

    It seems his boy forgot to bring his clubs for this one…..

    sorry 😛

  3. 0
    CommiePuddin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oh, Jack! Here’s a great opportunity to enact that study I proposed a while back, and earn some goodwill at the same time!

    Purchase some of your “murder-simulators,” or if you’d want more specific data, “military-simulators.” Provide them to troops, then compare their fitness reports before and after.

    Should prove your correlation. Right?

  4. 0
    wombat_overmind says:

    People get scared. People don’t want to die. Naturally, sometimes in a stressful situation, reason may fail and you’ll find yourself turning to some personal supernatural for a feeling of comfort and safety. Some people live lives devoid of reason, but satisfied by that comfort.

  5. 0
    Icehawk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Note that while the military professes to respect any and all religions or the lack thereof (they are getting better at it) it is still a matter of personal preference. There is no “right” or “wrong”. Understand please that I have not faced imminent mortality in a wartime situation, nor do I think most here have. What would I do if I did? Not sure since I have not been there. I do know that fear will cause one to do things they would not do otherwise. Is the quote offensive? Again it is a matter of personal preference. Was it intended to be offensive? Doubtful. Methinks that religion is a touchy matter at best, and I know of at least one that posts here on a regular basis that has stirred up that hornet’s next more then once. I recommend De-Caf.

    Just remember people. You do not need to defend your faith or lack, just have it or not.

    That aside I still think it is good idea here. Spread the love or at least the games.

  6. 0
    Grendal says:

    @ Matthew
    The “no atheists in foxholes” saying is more connected to the idea that extreme stress and the potential that you may die, may very well cause a questioning of your beliefs. Just like a Christian, Jew or Muslim might question their faith in god in the face of incredible violence and death and there own mortality so too may an atheist.

    Now moving on to the actual point of the story, I have several systems around that I don’t use but that are still in very good order. Think those would be wanted, or would I be better of with just donating cash?

  7. 0
    Matthew ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I was rather shocked when I saw this trimmed article in my RSS reader, but that’s because I’d never heard this expression before. While I don’t suspect for a moment that Dennis was trying to offend, and that he was simply using it to segue into “…but there are gamers” in order to introduce the topic, it is pretty clear that the expression is based on a negative stereotype. It’s made a little more sour by the fact that atheism hasn’t got anything to do with the story at all. Without the existence of the phrase, it reads similar to: “Now, they say that Christians firebomb family planning clinics but it turns out that so do bored teenagers,” as an intro to a story about arson.

  8. 0

    You know, I don’t want to get into a whole debate here. Just go and read this:

    This is the last I will say on this subject because the last time I got into an argument involving religion on the internet it took nearly three months until the other guy got tired and said ‘screw it’. It’s not even within context of this article to be having a debate on semantics. The idea that if my life was at stake I would give up all of my beliefs and cry out to a god I don’t believe in is insulting to my convictions.

  9. 0
    GryphonOsiris ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Xlorep DarkHelm

    There is an addition to that saying. “That isn’t a comment against atheist, it’s a comment against foxholes.”

  10. 0

    @Tyler Baumbarger

    I’m just saying that it could be taken in a very bad way.

    The only way I can see a common phrase like that could be taken a very bad way, would be by someone intentionally looking for something to take a very bad way. Such an individual would seek out anything to take a very bad way, and that phrase wouldn’t be the thing that most likely triggered/set the individual off, there’s far more interesting things to take a bad way in GP posts.

  11. 0
    Loque ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “but that it is a touchy subject among many today.”

    No, it really isn’t. People just make it into one.

    It’s a common phrase. Atheists, flippin’ out about it is pointless.

  12. 0


    I understand that there was no offense intended, I’m just saying that it could be taken in a very bad way. I accidentally deleted a sentence before hitting the submit button, as I was deleting another that I thought was not well written on my behalf. The first part was along the lines that I knew he probably didn’t intend to offend anyone, but that it is a touchy subject among many today. I’m quick to assert my morality existing with a lack of faith due to the fact I live in a very christain area. But I digress, I know he didn’t intend offense.

  13. 0

    @Tyler Baumbarger

    I don’t think that there was any offense intended in the initial statement. As your military friends would confirm, there is a very well-known, and well-used statement about wartime, which is what GP used, the “There are no Athiests in foxholes.” It isn’t an attack on Athiesm, or Athiests — it is just that when faced with imminent mortality in a wartime situation many people end up, very quickly, making prayers to God (or gods, depending on whatever religious influences are around). Or, at the very least, the individuals try to make peace with their lives. There is no attack against Athiesm, or Athiests in it, nor is it even “off-color” toward Athiests. Heck, the term “Foxhole” is more considered the “off-color” terminology, and is looked down on in the Army (but still used).

  14. 0


    Damn you, I wanted to put something like that.


    I, an athiest, am only not in the military because I cannot stomache the idea of killing another human being. (Even though I play ‘murder simulators’ all of the time.) I have friends in the military, some who are athiests. But, anyways, thanks for bringing this group to our attention so we can help donate. Even if you picked a rather off color way to start it.

  15. 0


    Just have to hope no one gets silly and donates war games.

    Why not? When I was in the Army, the top games that fellow Soldiers played were: FPS, RTS, Sports, and RPG. There also was a strong tendency to play games with a war-based theme to them.

  16. 0
    Icehawk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Just have to hope no one gets silly and donates war games.

    Seriouly though I like the idea, I would expect any gamer would. Have to look into this myself though am kind of stuck as the troops would likely be limited to the GBA and PSP neither of which I own. Cannot see shoving in an X-Box on top of full gear, the batteries for the handhelds would be burden enough.

    ~-Sarcarm on-~

    I have to wonder though if these games would not turn them violent. I mean they are only in a livefire zone and have small amounts of stress. Road side bombs, ambuses, car and suicide bombers… well as mentions some small amounts of stress. Still there is the fear that games sent them might turn them into trained killers.

  17. 0
    OtakuMan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is great news. REALLY great news.

    My brother-in-law recently returned from serving in Iraq, and with any luck he’ll be able to keep from going back if he can get a position with the National Coast Guard (something he’s been wanting to do for a while now. He’s got a real keen interest in busting up drug smuggling rings).

    However, while he was there, we sent him his Xbox and games which provided him and his buddies lots of enjoyment in between missions. Only real problem was when his buddy plugged the Xbox plug, meant for 120V of power, into a 240V outlet.


    Fried Motherboard.

    He mailed it back to us where we took it to a friend of ours who partakes in console modding. Despite his hardware skills, he pronounced the Xbox D.O.A. with little to no hope of recovery, save for scrapping a whole separate Xbox and planting those parts into it.

    But all is not lost. As a welcome home present, my in-laws got him the Halo 3 Xbox 360, and Halo 3. Me and my wife are going to chip in for his Xbox Live service, so he can hook up with his buddies online and play against or with them. It’ll help him maintain contacts with the people he met and worked with in Iraq.

    If this service had been around earlier, my brother-in-law probably would have been able to get back to the games quicker than waiting for us to receive the Xbox in the mail, find someone who could fix it, pronounce it dead, and then find a replacement.

    I’m all for this service, and so is my wife. We’ll see about donating to it soon.


  18. 0
    GryphonOsiris ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, they say that soldiers at war spend hours ungulfed in boredom and minutes in sheer terror. Frankly, this is a good way to relieve both. Historically it’s been proven that if soldiers don’t get time to ‘decompress’ then the effects of combat fatigue eventually get to them and they become a liability rather than an asset. With that said, sitting down to a video game; whether it’s Forza, Halo 3, Lair, or Wario-ware, is a great way to decompress.

  19. 0
    cfulp says:

    My best friend served in Iraq recently. The most great full letters I ever got from him was after I sent him Final Fantasy Tactics for the DS (actually for the advanced I think). Just a note, make sure you send them lots of batteries, they become scarce fast =P

  20. 0
    Austin Lewis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I always found that a lot of fellow soldiers liked to play Sports Games, while I would always play rpgs on my laptop. To each their own, I say.

    Also, FPS games are actually commonly played; we used to Lan COD2.

  21. 0
    Silphion says:

    @ Sidewinder

    The games to get would be same as everyone else – whatever the intended gamer’s favorite choice is. Being an active soldier on duty won’t magically make you appreciate war games or FPS if you didn’t like those games in the first place.

  22. 0
    Sidewinder says:

    Come to think about it, what games would be played. Would soldiers play games like Call of Duty 4, Armed Assault and other “realistic” war games? Or would it be more calm and “non-realistic” games? Like racing , sports and fantasy games.

  23. 0
    jds ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Awesome. One reason I play games is to relieve stress, and my stress is chump change compared to soldier-stress. I’m glad they can experience a wee bit of release.

  24. 0
    VioletSon says:

    What kind of games do soldiers play when they are surrounded by a real battlefield? I’m no soldier, but I couldn’t imagine wanting to play America’s Army or some other military shooter. I could see Shadow of the Colosuss being a really nice escape, though.

  25. 0
    Coravin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oooo, I was just saying we needed something like this the other day…we need all our politicians replacd with people who actually reside in (and have a workable understanding of) the real world! There, let’s see how long it takes for that wish to come true.


    The point is that when you’re keyed up to that degree of intensity–and even when you’re doing office work, it can be a little bit stressful to know that the familiar sound preceding launch of a mortar or some such weapon could be followed by the building you’re in exploding–you need some form of normalcy. Psychologically, a combat situation can be so stressful that it causes longterm changes in physiological and mental stress reactions (PTSD for one), and it is in such trying times that the smallest comforts and familiarities of home are most important to maintain sanity and, well, downright functionality.

    Maybe it won’t ward off PTSD, but even if familiar leisure activities do nothing more than promote better stress management, that can be a literal lifesaver on the ground.

  26. 0
    Skylar ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Great idea. Troops deserve any creature comforts they can get, and having video games will surely help relieve the insane stress they are under. Bravo!

  27. 0
    Weighted Companion Cube ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This sounds like a phenomenal idea.

    Sure, while there are many that end up being quite busy, or facing constant immediate danger while deployed, the fact is that the majority of the people we send to the front line are doing some of the same things they do back in the States – office work, equipment maintenance, etc. I have several friends that end up deploying, but don’t end up doing much out there. They have an essential job, and when the time comes for them to do something, they do it well, but they just don’t perform tasks that need to be done -all of the time-. So any way to combat the boredom down there is a great idea.

  28. 0
    Benji says:

    Come on, people, this is good news here, can we not drag JT’s name into places it doesn’t belong? He tries to put his own name where it doesn’t belong half the time (such as placing it adjacent to the word ‘expert’) and we don’t need to give him any more attention than he deserves.

  29. 0
    Davian says:

    (channeling Jack Thompson)

    What? How can this be allowed to continue? I mean, why they’ll turn all of those troops into preprogrammed killing machines! How could we possibly let the reenter our society after they’ve been exposed to these murder simulators?

  30. 0
    Benji says:

    @Mario me up, baby: Golf wars?!? And here I was thinking golf was massively boring. I always figured it was a sport that could benefit from a bit more action.

    Anyway, yeah, hopefully this will make things easier on the folks in uniform. I can imagine being deployed and away from your home being bad enough, they can use whatever comforts they can.

  31. 0
    Mario me up, baby. says:

    My dad told me that when he and his crew was on break during the golf war, they used to play Starfox.
    I’m gonna see if i have anything to donate.

  32. 0
    Luigi ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Actually, I remember reading something like this in an old Nintendo Power. During Desert Storm one of the most used items was a Gameboy and a copy of Tetris. Talk about a good way to pass time, especially the record-breakers they probably had. 😉

  33. 0
    Andrew Cybulska ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is a great idea, I will definitely be donating what I can when I get my new debit card. I may not agree with the war, but our men and women are there regardless and I want to do what I can to make the days go by quicker before they can come home.

  34. 0
    Saladin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, that actually sounds really nice. This could be a real stress reliever and possibly help lighten up the atmosphere. Well, I hope so anyways. Hopefully, a certain lawyer won’t freak out about something like THIS.

  35. 0
    HandofCrom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Filthy heretic, debasing yourself to warp-spawn! Praise the true Emperor, the master of all mankind! Burn the heretic! Kill the mutant! Purge the unclean!

  36. 0
    Socialist Gamer ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It sounds like an excellent plan. I may need to check out my game pile, see if there is anything worth donating.
    If they have old-school consoles, I could totally hook them up with a few copies of tetris..

  37. 0
    gamepoliticsx says:

    As your military friends would confirm, there is a very well-known, and well-used statement about wartime, which is what GP used, the "There are no Athiests in foxholes." It isn’t an attack on Athiesm, or Athiests — it is just that when faced with imminent mortality in a wartime situation many people end up, very quickly, making prayers to God. Or, at the very least, the individuals try to make peace with their lives. There is no attack against Athiesm, or Athiests in it, nor is it even "off-color" toward Athiests. As a welcome home present, my in-laws got him the Halo 3 Xbox 360, and Halo 3. Me and my wife are going to chip in for his Xbox Live service, so he can hook up with his buddies online and play against or with them.

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