Evan deployed to Iraq in 2007 as a US Army Scout. While he loved receiving letters and packages from good will groups, the impersonal nature of these items didn't take in the specific needs and wants of the soldiers. So Evan, now 24, along with his brother Ryan, created HeroBox  to provide custom care packages based on gender, location, time of year, and other factors which typical care-packages don’t meet. Through their online customized system, HeroBox has sent over 7,250 customized packages to deployed troops.
We caught up with Evan and here’s what he said:
DoSomething.org: What person or experience sticks with you from the beginning of the process?
Evan Housley: My brother, he was always concerned if my platoon was getting enough supplies. He would always email me to see if anyone else needed care packages.
DS: How did you feel when you first learned of the problem you’re addressing?
EH: It was during our first Christmas. Half of my friends I was deployed with didn’t get anything for Christmas or any previous holidays. It is definitely a morale booster to know someone back home cares about you.
DS: How do you feel about it now?
EH: If feel that more soldiers are being taken care of now that they know people back home are thinking of them.
DS: Who is your inspiration to keep going?
EH: My brother, he continues to show me the emails I was sending back to him and it reminds me of how much we needed an organization to help out deployed soldiers.
DS: Can you describe the moment you knew you were actually making a difference?
EH: The moment the first heroboxes first started coming in. During mail call, seeing the surprise and excitement on my platoons face that they had received a package from home, I knew then and there this was right.
DS: What was the most difficult roadblock you faced when you tried to start your project?
EH: The administration. Being deployed you can only do so much. My brother helped out a lot on this side; he created the website and controlled the entire IT part.
DS: What about when you were trying to grow your project?
EH: It was hard when I got back from deployment because I didn’t have the feedback for the soldiers and I couldn’t inform any of the other unit deployed of the heroboxes as easily as I once did.
DS: What’s been the biggest lesson throughout the process?
EH: How important it is to let Americans that are deployed know that we support them.
DS: What has surprised you the most about the journey that has brought you here today?
EH: The coordination it takes to start up a nonprofit.
DS: What advice do you have for other kids who are having a tough time getting their ideas off the ground?
EH: Never give up. If you believe strongly enough in your idea, continue to push through the tough times.
DS: If you could have done one thing differently based on what you know now, what would it be? Why?
EH: I would have taken a trip to Iraq to follow a care package to its recipient. I would like to see the journey and the impact one package can make.
DS: What’s next for your project?
EH: Expand and get more people involved around the United States. Right now we just have volunteers on the East Coast, but we would like to visit California and get more of a presence on the West Coast.