Can I Get a POS REP?
By Mr. Twisted
In March of 2011, former Marine Clay Hunt took his own life. Saddled with a great deal of survivor’s guilt from losing friends, nightmares, and depression, the former corporal made the decision that far too many others like him have.
After four years in the Marine Corps—which included tours in Iraq and Afghanistan—Hunt had left the service in 2009. He made somewhat of a name for himself by speaking out on behalf of Veterans by fighting Congress for more benefits, helping an organization called Ride 2 Recovery build bicycles for amputees, and even appeared in a video telling returning Veterans that they were “not alone” in their struggles.
In 2010, Hunt hopped a flight to the Dominican Republic, crossed the border into Haiti after the devastating earthquake there, and set to helping his best friend, Jake Wood, founder of Team Rubicon, in the recovery efforts for the devastated city of Port au Prince. Although helping Team Rubicon gave Clay something to live for, when he came home he felt alone and, eventually, helpless against the demons that haunted him.
What stood out about this story, however, was that at his funeral, it was discovered that there were several Veterans—from Hunt’s unit, no less—within a very short distance from his home. The question that was then asked by his friend Jake Wood was “what if he had known…?”
Enter Anthony Allman, CEO and co-founder of POS REP. Short for “Positive Report,” POS REP is an app that can be downloaded—free of charge—that allows a Veteran to do a scan of his immediate surroundings and find what resources are available to them. It is essentially a social discovery asset designed by and for Vets.
Using proximity technology, POS REP is two products: the first is the ability to locate other Veterans in any given area, and the other gives the user the ability to geo-tag all necessary locations. For example, let’s suppose that a Vet has just left the service and returned home. He or she may have no idea where the nearest VA facility is, so they get on POS REP and within mere seconds are able to identify any number of resources specifically available to Veterans in the immediate vicinity.
This, of course, has numerous applications and possibilities. When I spoke with Anthony on the phone, I realized very quickly that there is already way more to this app than I originally thought, and it’s just the beginning.
“What I would like to see,” he told me, “is that when Veterans return home, they have a checklist on their POS REP app that they can go through. Do they know where their nearest VA facility is? Do they know where other Veterans are? Are there Veteran-friendly employers within driving distance?” By reaching out to various companies all around the country, POS REP will eventually be able to provide Veterans with access to every necessary resource in their area from building squads of battle buddies to possible employment opportunities or educational resources. “Based on the Vet’s current location, POS REP can even prioritize all of the assets in the area according to need, making it a truly unique, niche-based social networking tool,” Anthony informed me.
What’s more, the creators and developers of POS REP don’t want to stop here—they want to continue to improve and make it better. “Recon is what’s in store very shortly. This will allow Vets to search for others by narrowing the fields—MOS, ETS date, branch of service, etc.—thus enabling them to contact others with similar experiences.”
When a Veteran first departs the service, it may very well be that he or she doesn’t feel the immediate need to keep in touch with other Vets or that they ever will. However, as most Vets I have spoken with can attest, the longer we are out of the service, the more a need grows within us to have those contacts. Perhaps it is on a minimal level, but knowing more are out there there can be a huge boost in morale. POS REP enables those connections to be made in a variety of ways and puts the tool in an easy-to-use, at-your-finger-tips delivery system that truly maximizes the technology that most of us have.
With that, a quick note; although it is currently only available for the iPhone operating system, this will soon be changing and made available for the Android platform (and no, Anthony didn’t sell his soul to Steve Jobs to make that happen. Or did he…?). There are technical reasons for this that go way over my head, but he seems to know what he’s talking about so I believe him (he developed stuff for Google!).
One issue I raised with him was the only one that I saw as being a possible flaw: “What if someone doesn’t want to be found?” Anthony assured me first that they take privacy very seriously and proceeded to inform me that, with the technology they use, the “locator” feature on the app does not pinpoint the exact location of others unless they want to be located. It will give a vicinity but purposefully change the exact spot so that one cannot be tracked. However, if someone is in trouble and they want to let their buddies know, they can come out of “stealth” mode and pop a green or red flare, depending on their status. This will pinpoint their location for 30 minutes and allow others to see exactly where they are.
What struck me above all else while speaking to Anthony is that there are people like him out there putting serious effort into developing products with the sole intent of making life easier for Veterans. Words cannot do justice to how absolutely kick ass it is to see Veterans busting their ass to create brand new technology with the purpose of helping other Veterans. While a lot of the success of POS REP will depend on how many people use it and the feedback they give, the fact that companies like this even exist is a truly fantastic thing for every one of us. I am truly humbled by the level of talent out there in the community.
One final note, Anthony wanted me to understand that they are currently working very diligently on a verification system that will minimize—to as great a degree as possible—the potential for “stolen valor” douchebags to take advantage of this technology. By cooperating with other Veteran services, they will continually update their ability to verify who is who and where they came from; something that ultimately benefits all who are involved.
As of right now, if you currently own an iPhone, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be using POS REP. Download the app, see who’s in your area, and check out a truly outstanding piece of technology designed for Veterans by Veterans, and in honor of those who could still be here if they had these assets available.