Three local veterans received an early Christmas present on Thursday courtesy of a trio of brothers and their nonprofit organization Tech-Aangels. Tech-Angels has helped many other veterans and seniors all across the country by giving them new or gently-used tablets and cell phones so they can better connect with loved ones during the pandemic.
The boys, 12-year-old twins Jaiden and Keanu Seeliger and their 11-year-old brother Milaan reside in San Diego. They were in Ardmore visiting their grandparents Harlen and Kaye Seeliger for Christmas, and while in town, they wanted to spread some holiday cheer.
The brothers got the idea of giving away devices to seniors after their 96-year-old great-grandmother in New Jersey broke her leg and had to move into a nursing home. This happened during the peak of COVID, so the only way she could connect with her family was virtually.
"She was lucky enough to have a device, but we realized that other people might not have a device or the opportunity to get one," Jaiden said. "So we decided that we should give people who need them devices."
Millaan said the first devices they gave away were some of their own, but now they receive donations from others as well.
"We set up bins to collect them at our church or we have drives where people can give them to us," he said. "We also set up bins at our school, and we get some from our family and friends."
Jaiden said the first device they gave away was to a veteran in Arizona who served on the USS Indianapolis.
"He hadn't seen his family in a long time," he said. "When he got to see his granddaughter, it made him so happy, and that was so great to see."
Keanu said Tech-Angels especially like to help veterans as a way of showing gratitude for their service.
"I think serving veterans is important because they've sacrificed so much for our country and the least we can do is help them," said Keanu. "We can never repay the debt that they've given to us, so we need to try the best to help them, and that can be just by helping them connect with their family."
The brothers have the goal of helping as many seniors and veterans as they can.
"Our goal is to help thousands of people, maybe not by giving away thousands of devices, but by giving several tablets to aa nursing home that they can share," Jaiden said. "We'd really like to expand and help as many people as possible."
With the help of their parents, the brothers have created a website, www.tech-angels.org, where people can contact them about donating a device or requesting a device if they need one. They plan on returning to Oklahoma —hopefully with more devices — again in the summer.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Ardmoreite: The gift of technology: Tech Angels give tablets to local veterans