Kind of an out of the ordinary blog tonight, but it's for a good cause. I don't normally ask you all for anything, but tonight I am...but only if you want to contribute. First I want you to imagine something. I almost asked you to close your eyes, but then how would you read this. Anyway...moving on.

Imagine you are living and working in a place where you don't get to go home every night and see your husband or wife, no brothers or sisters, no sons or daughters, no friends or even pets. You work all day and at night you are escorted back to your quarters, where you get just a few hours of sleep before you wake up and do it all over again. While you're at work, you are often ridiculed, criticized and forced to do physically challenging tasks for no apparent reason. As if that wasn't bad enough, you're enduring the experience with a few dozen complete strangers, some of who challenge authority which often results in you being punished for their behavior. These same strangers reside with you in your quarters. You eat with them, shower with them, and spend nearly every moment of your life with them. The irony in the situation is, choices you have made are what got you here in the first place.

Where is "here"?

No, not prison...though it might sound an awful lot like prison.

How about military boot camp?

You may remember one of our fellow Game Informer Online members by the name of Jon Keyes. He wasn't a frequent blogger, but he was definitely a solid audience member. He would read a lot of the blogs and comment on them. You could also find him in the forums from time to time. He was positive and supportive to many of you...certainly to me. I remember when I first made his acquaintance I just assumed he was older because he acted very mature and wise. When I discovered how young he really was, I was a little surprised to say the least. He went on to be featured in the big 50th episode of Member Herding. Read it here if you're interested. Suffice it to say he's an all-around great guy.

That was back on July 31, 2012 and then on November 10, 2012 Jon Keyes posted a farewell blog which you can read here. It was a touching opened with a little about his decision to join the Air Force and what he would be doing, but then it turned to recognizing the GIO community with a few specific mentions to select members.

And on November 18, 2012...he departed.

Well, on Friday this past week, I received a letter from Jon Keyes...from boot camp. I told him privately...before he left...that if he wanted to write that he could and I'd be more than happy to write him back. It's amazing what a letter from home (or even from your online friends) can do to boost your morale. Everybody loves getting mail - it's a fact. Those who have attended boot camp will probably tell you the same thing - it's not that the things you do in boot camp are all that challenging or difficult...but the loneliness is often the hardest part to deal with. It can result in a feeling of hopelessness that is indescribable. And that hopelessness is what causes many to struggle.

I was actually a little surprised when I got the letter...but it was definitely cool to hear from him.

Anyway, the letter was brief (not a lot of time for letter writing) and in the letter, Jon Keyes expressed how much he missed the Game Informer Online community and asked that I send him some blogs to read. Without having access to TV, radio and the Internet, you feel fairly isolated the minute you step off the bus. Well, I thought I would do one better. Besides sending him some printed out blogs, I'd like to send him this blog, with comments from the community.

So, here is what I'm asking...whether you know Jon or not, doesn't really matter. Post a comment sending him your hellos, well wishes, words of encouragement, gaming news, what you're playing and what you think of it...whatever you want. I'll give it a few days and then I'll print out the comments and mail them to him.

I know he'd love to hear from you all and it really does make a difference.

For Jon Keyes!

Thanks...and cheers.