Earlier this summer, Virginia Tech received national recognition for its role in helping to improve the lives of United States veterans when Operation Hat Trick (OHT), a nonprofit organization that supports the recovery of wounded service members and veterans, named the university a finalist for its 2022 Excellence in Service Award.
Virginia Tech was one of five finalists, joining Western Michigan, Arizona, Texas A&M, and Clemson. Arizona and Clemson were co-winners of the award.
Given the university’s military tradition as one of two schools nationally with a corps of cadets (Texas A&M is the other), the Operation Hat Trick partnership is just one of many ways the university continues to honor its roots as a military institution.
“We in the university licensing and trademarks office were pleased to offer a line of co-branded Virginia Tech/Operation Hat Trick merchandise,” said Jessica Hotter, director of brand development and trademark licensing in Virginia Tech’s Office of Licensing and Trademarks. “The proceeds from the sale of those items not only helped support student scholarships and other student initiatives, but also an additional portion of the sales supported wounded service members and veterans through Richmond Fisher House, which serves as a home away from home for the families of veterans receiving care at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
“It was the combination of the co-branded merchandise, focus on veterans’ causes, and events surrounding the military appreciation celebrations — in collaboration with Athletics, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, and the Pamplin College of Business — that led to the distinction from Operation Hat Trick (OHT).”
For the first time, Virginia Tech’s Office of Licensing and Trademarks and Virginia Tech Athletics offered an OHT co-branded shirt as the official White Effect T-shirt for the Military Appreciation Game between the Hokies’ football team and Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 11 of last year. The White Effect shirt sold more than 6,300 units, making it the best-selling item on the athletics’ team store site in 2021.
Richmond Fisher House actually consists of two facilities, with suites that include private bedrooms and baths. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is no fee to stay in either dwelling.
“The two homes in Richmond provide free temporary lodging so military and veteran families who live 50 miles or farther from the treating facility can be close to their loved one during a medical crisis,” said Wayne Walker, director of Richmond Fisher House. “Since the first home opening in 2008, the Richmond Fisher House staff has provided free lodging to more than 12,000 families. We are truly grateful for our community partners like Virginia Tech to assist us in our mission to take care of our nation’s heroes.”
Virginia Tech Athletics’ Military Appreciation Game will be another co-branded OHT White Effect game and will take place when the Hokies face Wofford on Sept. 17 at Lane Stadium. The kickoff is slated for 11 a.m.