He didn’t know it, but Bill Webb’s connection with the military was informing his support for the Society from the very beginning, even though he never served. “Flat feet – they didn’t want me,” he says with a laugh.
Bill grew up with the military. “I’m a military brat,” he says with pride. “I was actually born at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Wash.” His dad was an officer in the Air Force, and Bill, his mom, and his sister lived on military bases all over the country. And that’s where he realized the sacrifices that enlisted service members and their families make.
“I saw firsthand the poor conditions and the poverty that a lot of our military families were living in,” he says. It was the 1970s. Bill’s dad was an officer, so his family was a little better off, but the differences were stark. “We had new clothes,” he says. “They didn’t. I got a new bike. They got a second-hand one.” It made a lasting impression.
Today, Bill and his family live near Bremerton, Wash., home of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. “About 60 percent of the kids in the school district in the county where I live are on food stamps,” he says, “and most of them are kids from military families.”
As a successful IT professional, Bill often works on military bases. When he’s not doing that, he’s president and CEO of his own business, Frog God Games, which creates and produces tabletop role-playing games -think Dungeons & Dragons. Bill started his first gaming company, Necromancer Games, in 2000, and then in 2010, he used what he had learned to start Frog God Games. His company continues to grow, and with his success, he’s been committed to giving back. That’s how he learned about the Society.
“I was talking with the mayor of Bremerton about doing a fundraiser,” he says, “and she suggested the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.” Bill did his research. He found the Society’s website, and started digging. Meanwhile, he checked with his sister-in-law, who researches charities to learn things like the amount of funds going to recipients, overhead costs, and other expenses. What she found out about the Society impressed him. “The number of volunteer hours and the low overhead rate,” Bill says, “were very attractive about the Society.”
He talked with the mayor again, and then he talked with several officers at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard, who also spoke favorably of the Society. Then he called the local Society office and spoke with the staff. He felt he’d found the charity he was looking for.
But what really cinched it was his long-time customer and friend, a retired Marine Corps sergeant. “I asked him about the Society,” Bill says, “and he immediately said, ‘Oh yeah, they helped me out when I was in the Philippines and needed some short-term cash.’”
Bill knew the Society was the charity to support. And he’s been doing just that, with an entrepreneur’s passion.
Bill has already done two fundraisers with Frog God Games that benefitted the Society. Two more are scheduled for this year (in June and December, www.humblebundle.com). He partners with an internet marketing firm, and as his games sell, he raises funds for Sea Service members and their families. His most recent fundraiser was a huge success. “We broke the record,” he says, “selling more than 480,000 PDFs.” These online events raise tens of thousands of dollars for the Society. Bill has also done some smaller fundraisers on his own, and he plans to do more and bigger online events in the months ahead.
“I’ve been fortunate in business,” he says, “and I believe we have an obligation to our service men and women. They’re risking their lives for us, and it’s the least we can do to give them the peace of mind to know that their families are taken care of.” This is the sense of honor and duty that you’re a part of too. Sea Service members and their families get the help they need through the Society, and thanks go to Bill and supporters like you.
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