As the Jacksonville Jaguars have given this city an identity to the rest of the world, Jacksonville has long been a city with a rich military identity amongst those in the military. From the commission of Naval Air Station Jacksonville in 1940 and Naval Station Mayport in 1942, Jacksonville has long been associated with the US Navy. However, Jacksonville's own have not just served in the Navy, but in all branches. Many of us know friends and family members who have served or are serving in the military. Many of us have even served or are currently serving.
While the Jaguars have always given thanks to area service members, those efforts have become more visible in the most recent seasons. Now, we acknowledge veterans of past conflicts and those currently serving throughout the game, giving thank to those who sacrificed so that we can live in freedom. This particular project is for those who are currently in harm's way in the Global War on Terrorism.
Big Cat Country (BCC) and the Bold City Brigade (BCB) have teamed up to give those Jaguars fans deployed throughout the various theaters of Operation Enduring Freedom something to remind them of their home team. Dubbed 'Operation Patch Drop', BCC and BCB will send patches featuring the crest of the Bold City Brigade to service members deployed in combat zones along with a personalized letter of gratitude for their service.
BCB is an independent Jaguars fan supporters group whose mission is to "engage and unite Jaguars followers from all walks of life, but particularly those who have grown with the franchise since its inception." Composed mostly of fans who have grown-up with the Jaguars, Bold City Brigade seeks to unite the Jaguars fanbase with an emphasis on passion for both the team and the city.
While this is the first partnership between BCC and BCB, BCB is no stranger to philanthropic efforts. Earlier this month, BCB hosted a benefit for the Boselli Foundation at Intuition Ale Works, raising over $6000 for the foundation. This time, BCB and BCC have partnered to give thanks to those currently in harms way.
Now, you may all be wondering why patches are being sent to the troops. For the most part, ground troops have swaths of velcro on their combat utility uniforms for patches. These patches include the US flag on the top followed by unit insignia on the bottom. In camp and around garrison, however, soldiers often switch these official patches for 'morale' patches, usually with inside jokes that soldiers would only understand. While seemingly just a piece of cloth with velcro attached, these patches give the soldiers a dose of home and humor. By sending these patches to our local soldiers, we will provide them with a reminder of home and their home team.
Soldiers wear their patches and unit insignia as a sense of pride. We as fans wear the logo of our team to represent the sense of pride we have in our team and community. We love what we do and we love what we wear. For many of us, the Jaguars aren't just a team. It's our identity. For those who have served, being a Jaguars fan is often times a microcosm of what you feel when deployed. No one outside of the community understands what you feel. The community is small but close-knit and hardened. We stick together. Missing home sucks and for many the Jaguars represent home. By sending these patches we will make our soldiers feel at home even if they are in Afghanistan, Africa, the Phillipines, Central and South America, or wherever they are needed. We're sending a piece of home to them.
If you would like to nominate a local soldier currently deployed or about to be deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom to receive a patch and/or donate money so that a soldier may receive a patch, click on the link to the Bold City Brigade sale site.
Any leftover proceeds from patch donations will be split and sent to the Silent Warrior Scholarship Fund, which sends scholarships to students with familial relationship to Reconnaissance or MARSOC Marines, and the Green Beret Foundation, which provides resources to facilitate the special needs of wounded, ill, and injured Green Berets and Green Beret Gold Star families.