Hunting for Change: CES Raises Over $13,000 for Veterans

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Mike Dryden and his son Brandon are two people who love the great outdoors. They started looking for things to get involved in and found OPFOB, or Operation Patriots Forward Operating Base, an organization that focuses on connecting veterans with one another through outdoor and recreational activities. Both veterans themselves, Mike Dryden decided to involve City Electric Supply (CES) and host a fundraiser for the organization. The result? More than $13,000 was raised in a single day for OPFOB. 

OPFOB: Founded to Fulfill a Need 

Operation Patriots Forward Operating Base (OPFOB) was founded four years ago by Roy “JR” Brown and his wife. 

Brown spent several years in combat serving in Iraq but lost more of his friends to mental health struggles than he did while serving. In 2019, after a 13-month span where JR saw five veterans pass away, he told his wife he couldn’t sit around any longer. 

“On average, we lose 22-44 veterans a day due to mental health struggles. I told my wife, ‘We have to do more,’” said Brown. 

While overhearing Brown chatting with other veterans, Brown’s wife realized that doing things that allowed him to be outdoors was when he was happiest. 

“When I came home, I worked with an organization that trained dogs for special operations. When we weren’t working with the animals, we were doing activities like fishing, or just sitting around a fire chatting about our shared experiences. When I was on those work trips, I felt rejuvenated,” expressed Brown. 

Brown founded OPFOB, an organization whose primary mission is to provide a place at zero cost to veterans, first responders, active-duty members, and their families to come together, relax, and have a good time while bonding. 

“The whole goal is to get like-minded individuals around each other to build up that comradery that a lot of us miss the most when we come home from war,” explained Brown. 

The nonprofit sits on more than 200 acres of land in South Carolina for folks to come and spend their time participating in activities and being around others who share their experiences. 

A Heartfelt Hunt: Over $13,000 Raised in One Day 

Dryden decided he wanted to get involved with OPFOB on more of a personal level. He got his CES Charleston South district involved in the fun and planned a day-long pheasant hunting trip, where proceeds would benefit the organization. 

The response was greater than Dryden anticipated. Seventeen vendors decided to sponsor the event, with 21 contractors joining in and bringing guests. More than 70 customers came out to the event, resulting in $13,600 raised for OPFOB in one day.

“A lot of contractors and customers know one another, so it was a good day of fellowship, people enjoying each other’s company and doing something for a great cause,” said Dryden. 

The day was such a hit that Dryden and the team want to make the event even bigger next year. 

“We are looking forward to hosting the hunt again next year, and we want to make it a weekend-long event,” said Dryden. “This is a cause that’s very important to me, so to see my customers show their support at this event means a lot.” 

Thank You All Around

With the first Pheasant Hunt being such a success, Dryden can’t wait to begin preparing to make the hunt an annual event. 

“I want to say a huge and true thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who donated and joined in on the hunt,” said Dryden. “When I decided to do this, I had no idea the event would lead to this magnitude of success. We can’t wait to host another event for OPFOB.” 

“As a nonprofit, donations like this are huge for us, and every dollar truly goes a long way. Thank you to CES for showing their continued support for our group and showing our veterans that people care about the sacrifices they made,” said Brown. “I look forward to the next event and bringing even more veterans out for the fun!” 

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