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Volume 12: Seahawk central for fans and charitable causes
Earlier this year, Joe Tafoya was woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of his two children crying.
As he tried to get the little ones back to sleep, it dawned on him that there must be some kind of world record for noise. This lightbulb moment led to Seattle Seahawks fans — also referred to as the 12th Man — breaking the world record for “Loudest Crowd Roar at a Sports Stadium” twice on Sept. 15 and Dec. 2. The record was set and recorded by Guinness World Records officials at 137.6 decibels.
The record-breaking events were organized by Volume 12, a company focused on highlighting on Seahawks fans as well as charitable causes and organizations in the local community. Volume 12, which has been around for about five years, opened its first storefront on Black Friday (Nov. 29) in Redmond Town Center (RTC) at 7311 164th Ave. N.E. The store features Seahawks paraphernalia and official Legion of Boom gear as well as a “fan cave” with big-screen TVs showing football games, comfortable couches and a few arcade games to keep the kids happy.
From 4-8 p.m. on Dec. 28, Volume 12 will host an event for the 12th Woman, or Lady 12s, the Seahawks’ female fans, to give them a chance to meet and connect with other women who are also passionate about the team.
GIVING FANS A VOICE
Tafoya, who played for the Seahawks from 2005-6, is a partial owner of Volume 12 through his marketing and consulting agency, JumpIt Media. As CEO, he co-owns JumpIt with former Seahawks fullback Kerry Carter, who was with the team from 2003-4. Carter is JumpIt’s president and COO.
Carter said they first got involved when Volume 12 founder Ken Brunelle contacted them in the spring for their expertise in brand promotion and help in getting the Volume 12 name out again as JumpIt specializes in digital media, branding and engagement. But the more they learned about the company, Carter said, the more they wanted to get involved.
“We have some history there,” he added with a laugh, referring to the Seahawks.
Tafoya said he liked the idea of creating a platform for fans and highlighting them as Volume 12 does. As a former NFL defensive end/linebacker, he recognizes how much fans mean to athletes and the role fans play in encouraging players during a game.
“I’ve been down on the field,” he said. “I know it matters.”
Tafoya added that they started a movement with the world-record attempts, pointing out that other fans from other teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints have also attempted to break the record (Seahawks fans still hold the record). He said these events give fans an opportunity to get involved in the game.
“They encourage their fans to use their voice to participate,” Tafoya said, adding that game broadcasts are now highlighting fans and measuring crowd noise.
He said sometimes, even the players will look at the big screen to watch the fans.
In addition to highlighting fans, Volume 12 highlights charitable causes throughout the community, which is another big part of why Tafoya and Carter got involved. For example, during the holiday season, Volume 12 has teamed up with RTC to feature a Celebrity Santa in its store Friday evenings. Fans can get their picture taken for a $20 donation, with all of the proceeds benefitting the Celebrity Santa’s cause of choice.
Last week’s Santa was Seattle Sounders FC forward Lamar Neagle and the proceeds went to The Neagle Foundation, which focuses on producing and enhancing extracurricular activities for children, specifically in low-income areas. Tonight is the last night for Celebrity Santa and will feature former Seattle Seahawk fullback Mack Strong, who will take pictures and sign autographs from 6-8 p.m. Donations will benefit Strong’s TEAM-WORKS Foundation, which provides youth development programs for at-risk youth from communities with high rates of poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, crime and neglect.
Renton resident Wendell Joseph, who has visited the Volume 12 store a few times since it opened and was in on Tuesday, said he plans to bring his daughters to the Celebrity Santa event tonight, adding that the charitable component of it is great for the community. As an avid Seahawks fan, he said will usually attend home games, but when the team is away, he now has a new place to watch the games with fellow fans.
“When we have road games, I’ll probably stop by,” he said.
Carter said Volume 12’s charitable efforts are their way to raise awareness of causes and organizations who need it.
“It’s actually turn up the volume in the community,” Carter said. “This is community building.”
Tafoya added that with the Seahawks’ success, the football world has become a place people turn to for role models and it has been great for them to help educate people and raise awareness of different causes in the community.
“It’s an honor to go back in the community…and promote a positive message,” he said.