Playing for a Cause: Meet U.S. Navy Veteran Chad Fischer

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March 17
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Wargaming’s Operation Lifeboat Scores $90,000 in first Two Weeks of Campaign to Support StackUp.org and Help Vets Like Chad Fischer Recover through Video Games

Meet Chad Fischer. He retired from active duty in 2016 after serving seven years in the U.S. Navy. Fischer’s last job was as a missile technician on the USS Ohio, a nuclear-powered submarine.

Then, a traumatic brain injury forced him into medical retirement. Fischer went from being part of a tightly knit, high-performing crew to being sidelined into the isolated world of inpatient treatment. Fischer turned to video games – first as a distraction, then as a way to connect with others during his long hours in the hospital.

“Playing with the community is totally something that helps people get outside of themselves and feel connected to other people,” Fischer said. He eventually came across Stack Up, a nonprofit that helps service members get through deployments to combat zones and recover from traumatic injuries through the power of video games.

“With Stack Up, it’s run by veterans. And you know it,” Fischer said. “You feel welcomed. You don’t feel like you’re an outsider.”

Fischer is the second of four veterans and gamers to be featured in a series in Military Times over the next two months. The series runs alongside a fundraising campaign by Wargaming, the developer of World of Warships and other online games, and Stack Up.

Already, World of Warships gamers have raised $90,000 for Operation Lifeboat – putting the campaign very close to its $100,000 goal in just the first two weeks. The proceeds come from the sale of two limited-edition in-game bundles called Life Line and Life Ring, which includes special missions, exclusive items, and permanent power-ups within the World of Warships online game. The entire proceeds of each $12 Life Line bundle and $30 Life Ring bundle go to Stack Up’s Overwatch Program, one of the programs by which Stack Up supports service members and civilians. The bundle will remain on sale through the end of April.

“The response among our players to Operation Lifeboat has been tremendous so far,” said Artur Plociennik, Regional Publishing Director for World of Warships. “We’re extremely gratified by our community’s immense generosity, and we’re eager to see how much we can raise to help more veterans and active duty service members like Chad.”

Although $100,000 may not seem like a lot of money, it would help Stack Up pay for a year of continuous overnight support, said Mathew Bergendahl, Manager of Stack Up’s Overwatch Program. Bergendahl noted that evenings are particularly busy times for counselors, with peak hours spanning 6 p.m. to midnight.

“I know so many veterans who have isolated themselves, who do not have the outside contact as much as they should,” Fischer said. “That’s a pretty big reason why Stack Up exists.”