News Archive

To all who attended Anime Detour

April 12th 2011, 13:57 CDT

To all who attended Anime Detour,

With this years Detour at a close, I am left with a sense of wonderment.  All of us were apart of something special this year.   Every year we come to this convention to celebrate and revel in our shared obsession. But this year has left me without words to describe what happened at con.  Luckily my staff have put into words what I have felt.

Jayson Stobb is a division head and he has done me the honor of allowing me to post his letter.  Thank you Jayson.   

"This weekend has showed me a lot of things. I have seen greed and selfishness everywhere. I have seen others use people to their own gain. I have seen others hurt another because they find it amusing. These things make me loose faith and hope at times, but I will never again forget that there are hearts in the world that give hope to those in need. They have given me the courage to stand and fight. They have show that not everyone is in it for themselves.
 
At Anime Detour 2011 I watched as a community of 4,500 plus rally together in support, of not only Japan, but in for each other. I wont mention names because I feel I don't have the right to. Each scenario I am about to mention involves a selfless act that deserves credit and gratitude.
 
Simple things can add up. The charity auction donation boxes overflowed multiple of times through out the convention. I wish I could have been there, at each box, as someone donated to tell them thank you but I was only able to say it to the few I had been able to meet. If you donated over the weekend, and I didn't see you. Thank you, you have shown the world how much we care. Not only did the donations add up, but so did the emotion.
 
By Sunday, I was a little overwhelmed. I had a sixteen year old walk up with her sister and give me a hundred dollars. I was still able to keep my composure as I thanked her greatly but than her little sister did the same. “This is my allowance from the past year, please help those in Japan.” She looked up at me, pure in her actions, I was almost in tears. I thanked her while smiling but I had to walk away to regain my composure. As I rounded the corner I saw another girl in a Negima cosplay, she handed me her staff she put in a lot of hours and hard work on, it looked amazing and I wish I had such talent. It was signed by the voice actor of the character. “I would like to have this auctioned off,” she said. By this time I was crying. I thanked her and quickly ran to operations. I took a detour into the bathroom to regain my poker face before meeting with the vise Chairman. As I walked into ops, he showed me a bleach weapon singed by the DJ's, along with our guest guest of honor DJ we have every year. Another donation, an item that someone put hard work into, something that you can tell had had their heart put into it. I don't remember if I was able to find the words to thank him. At that point I lost all words and my mind had been overwhelmed with the events that came to pass.
 
All over the convention people where doing everything possible to gain support. The Dealers department had sent in a request if any other the dealers would like to donate items. In all honesty we thought we weren’t going to have many items this year, but we where wrong. The dealers had given us up to 50 plus items, overwhelming us with their generosity. We didn't have the time to auction all the items so we went off an idea we hadn't put into pace until now. We thought of doing a raffle but hadn't had the items to do so in the past, so on the fly we assembled the idea from scratch and earned $1,800 from the raffle alone. Dealers also made their own donation bucket because the one we had given them always full. They walled around urging people to donate and we wouldn't have done such an amazing event with out them.
 
I had over heard rumors of room parties selling paper cranes and others setting up donation buckets to contribute to the donation. To all the room parties that contributed, thank you, I wish I could have told you in person.
 
The guests of honor also have their place among those I have a profound respect and admiration for. Not only had they donated rare items they acquired over the past year, but they also put money into the donation boxes, showing everyone that this community stands together.
 
We had a new guest of honor this year, he was more than a guest, he can be called a friend. This person walked into operations, security, and other departments, and began to work. Up until this moment I hadn't figured out why a guest of honor would want to work at a convention when he is supposed to be a guest, but I now know, its the same reason why I do it, the people. He helped out in many ways, and a simple thank you is impossible to cover the gratitude I have. I know the people you helped feel the same way.
 
I saw departments banding together, helping each other, and communicating. I saw guests of honor standing side by side with the attendees and staff to make it a glorious event. I saw a community band together to contribute over $36,00 to help Japan. Everyone has said thank you to my staff and I, but I would like to say a few words. “We are not the ones who donated $36,000. We are a small part of the contribution. The guests need to be thanked for all the items they bring for people to bid on, and everyone who attended Anime Detour needs to be thanked. Nothing could have been achieved with out them.
 
To all 4,580 attendees and the staff of Anime Detour 2011, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You showed the world that a community such as ours, can stand together, stronger than any other. I am proud to say I am apart of this community and will fight to help any one of you. You have shown the world how big our hearts are and that there are people out there that will reach out in a selfless act to help those in need.”
 
To anyone who reads this, spread the word. Share the story. Let people know that you can make a difference. These words ring true and quoted from our chairman of Anime Detour 2011, Grab hold of one one other and “Go out and change the world.” You have it in you, open up and show it. Again, thank you, for more than you realize."
You were all apart of that.  Your donations, time, and love culminated into a convention I shall never forget.  Everyone, Thank you.
 
Sincerely,
Stephen Gifford, Jr.  
Chairman Of Anime Detour