All-Volunteer Group of G.I. Joe Fans Combine Forces To Create A “Dirty Dozen” at Joelanta

PoP's "Dirty Dozen" at Joelanta 2014 consisted of (from r to l): Bryan Tatum, Haz Ardis, Brad Curry, NAME, Keith Mayo (back), Chung Kim (front), Terry Lee Stair Sr., NAME, Kids name, Jim Moore and NAME. The final member, NAME, is not shown. Each generous member gave freely of his time to assist sole-proprietor, Mark Otnes, hand out free candy, business coupons and gift buttons. Whatta group! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

PoP’s “Dirty Dozen” actually consisted of 13 volunteers at Joelanta 2014 (11 of whom are shown here), including (from l to r): Bryan Tatum, Haz Ardis, Brad Curry, Chet Peters, Keith Mayo (back), Chung Kim (front), Terry Lee Stair Sr., Tearle Ashby, Michael Dickey, Jim Moore and John Keater. (Scott C. Stewart and Gordon Mayfield are not shown). Each member generously gave of his own time to assist sole-proprietor businessman, Mark Otnes, hand out free candy, savings coupons and free gifts including 50th Anniversary GIjOE buttons, t-shirts and action figures. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

GIjOE fan and toy dealer, Carlos Morrison, holds up the MIB "Sergeant York" action figure he had just won as one of Patches of Pride's "instant winners" at Joelanta 2014. Free packets of "PoP Rocks" candy were handed out by members of PoP's elite "Dirty Dozen" volunteers, and on the back of Carlo's pack of candy was a sticker declaring him as an "instant winner!" After showing the candy wrapper to one of the Dirty Dozen, he was awarded his free gift. Now THAT'S "Joe Karma!" (Photo: Mark Otnes)

GIjOE fan and toy dealer, Carlos Morrison, holds up the MOC “Sergeant York” action figure he had just won from Patches of Pride at Joelanta 2014. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Spirited Group Donates Time and Effort To Help Sole-Proprietor Advertise His 1:6 Business

“This guy came by my booth handing out free packets of candy and saying, ‘PoP Rocks! PoP Rocks!’ At first, I thought he worked for a candy company or something, but then he said he was helping out with something called, ‘PoP’s Dirty Dozen.’ I turned my packet over and on the back it said I was an ‘instant winner!’ That was pretty cool.” —Carlos Morrison

The “Spirit of Joe Karma” was clearly alive and well at last month’s Joelanta GIjOE and Action Figure Show held in Atlanta, GA. During that event, 13 diverse individuals came together in the spirit of helpful camaraderie and selflessness to aid a man most of them had never met, fellow “Joehead” and 1:6 scale entrepreneur, Mark Otnes of Patches of Pride (PoP).

Lucky attendees at Joelanta 2014 received free packets of PoP Rocks candy from volunteers of PoP's "Dirty Dozen." On the back were stickers with "lucky prize numbers" and notifications of "instant winner" status. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Fans who received free packets of PoP Rocks candy noticed that on the back were stickers designating either a prize number or instant winner status. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

A month earlier, Otnes had placed a straightforward want-ad on Facebook asking for volunteers to help him distribute prizes and promotional materials to guests and attendees of the show. Much to his surprise, a large group quickly stepped forward offering their assistance, free of charge and without hesitation. Otnes quickly dubbed his gung-ho assistants “PoP’s Dirty Dozen,” and promised each that he would receive a free 50th Anniversary GIjOE t-shirt as a show of thanks for their assistance.

This closeup reveals that each member of PoP's "Dirty Dozen" received a free "unofficial" 50th Anniversary GIjOE t-shirt, a special "Dirty Dozen" button, and one of the ultra rare-n-square 50th Anniversary pin-on buttons. Sweet! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This closeup reveals the nifty 50th GIjOE t-shirt each member of PoP’s “Dirty Dozen” received, along with unique Dirty Dozen and “rare-n-square” 50th Anniversary buttons. Sweet! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Patches of Pride was one of the sponsors of the Custom figures and Dioramas competition at Joelanta 2014. (Photo: Mark OTnes)

As one of the official sponsors of Joelanta’s custom figures and dioramas competition, Patches of Pride posted its impressive banner nearby. As always, the quality of the entries was superb! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

During the show, each member made their way around the showrooms, handing out the free 1:6 gifts, candy and PoP promotional materials, providing Otnes with an extremely valuable “person-to-person” workforce that normally would have cost him a small fortune. Afterwards, an obviously ecstatic Otnes couldn’t stop praising his illustrious team of volunteers, expressing his sincerest gratitude time and time again:

“These guys were Heaven-sent! I mean, for the entire weekend my business’ labor force jumped from just one person (me) up to twelve! Thirteen actually, when you count my ‘unofficial’ extra helper, Chung Kim. I can’t thank them enough for all their generous help. Usually it’s just me doing all of this promotional work, trying to spread the word about my business, So I was THRILLED to have so much help at Joelanta!” —Mark Otnes, Patches of Pride

There was even a special sign set up at the entrance to Joelanta, welcoming the attendees and urging to "Look for the fans wearing THIS button!" (Photo: Mark Otnes)

There was even a special sign set up at the entrance to Joelanta, listing all the members, welcoming show attendees and urging them all to “Look for the fans wearing THIS button!” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Dirty Dozen member, Brad Curry, looks through bins for German uniform pieces while taking a break from handing out free samples of PoP Rocks candy. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Dirty Dozen member, Brad Curry, looks for German uniform pieces at Joelanta 2014. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: It’s wonderful to hear of such a clear-cut example of “Joe Karma” and to learn that in this day and age, there are still so many helpful fans willing to selflessly come to the aid of a Joehead in need.

As the sun began to set on the final day of the show, Otnes gathered his team of volunteers together outside by the hotel swimming pool for one last vital and important mission: to pose for a group photograph (see that pic at top of this article).

Afterwards, instead of hurrying back to the show, many of the members simply lingered in conversation, clearly in no hurry to leave one another’s company, preferring instead to share some rare quality “Joe time” with their new-found friends, while relishing in their mutual satisfaction of a job VERY well done.

Go, JOE! Go, Dirty Dozen! Go, PoP!

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