Former Marine creates gift registry for military members called “MACO”

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SAN DIEGO -- "It's a platform that's re-imagining how we connect, support, and gift individuals and communities we care about."

Phil Duong, stationed at Miramar and Pendleton from 2009-2015, served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine Corps helicopter pilot.

"I was getting care packages in my multiple deployments. I could recognize the good will, and I appreciated it... But when we were running out of certain supplies, whether it was professional or just personal and I was just getting boxes and boxes of travel sized toothpaste and tooth brushes... I felt like people's good will could have been more focused."

Duong left the military in 2015 to get his MBA from Columbia University in New York.

"Through my process through grad school and being away from the community, I realize that military experience is such an opaque experience to the general public. And our country is in such a great spot now where the general public wants to help the military but they don't really know how to access them.

He created "Maco".

A platform that works like a wedding registry.

Service members can sign up and request specific items, then loved ones or even strangers can contribute to the wishlist.

100 percent of the contribution goes to the requested item, and it's then shipped directly anywhere in the world a service member is stationed.

"You're deployed and you don't know what you need 6 months before you deploy, you have this clunky forwarding address... And there's no real way to connect back at home. On the other side... I think the greatest value is friends and family are able to stay connected to the military members throughout their journey and really send them things that they need."

"Maco" is still in it's beta phase, but already has 200 active users and ships over 2-thousand products to service member world-wide.

The next step is to expand beyond the military.

"I want to connect citizens in the spirit of what Americans are and the greatness of Americans and that's our appreciate of our service community... That's our teachers, first aid responders, humanitarian relief workers... All these communities that raise their hand and want to service their communities... This is a way for us to show our appreciation to them."

Duong welcomes anyone looking to contribute through the platform or to has feedback on ways to continue and improve.

"This platform is very much so in the same fabric as the wingman foundation. It's of us, for us, by us. It's all grass roots and I really hope the public can grab on to it and connect."




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