70 Post-9/11 Veterans Begin New Missions of Service
Posted February 4, 2013
As the room full of veterans settled into their seats last Saturday morning to hear from The Mission Continues founder and CEO Eric Greitens, they were greeted with the stories of Bunker Hill and Valley Forge. Many in attendance had served in Iraq or Afghanistan, all had served at least one day since September 11, 2001. All, Greitens continued, were part of an enduring legacy of service dating back to founding of the country. They were veterans with years of military experience who were returning home TO continue a life of public service.
Through The Mission Continues Fellowship Program, veterans are challenged to utilize their skill-sets in a civilian setting by serving at the local non-profit or community organization of their choice. For the veterans gathered in Los Angeles last Saturday hearing the stories of Bunker Hill and Valley Forge, that means volunteering twenty hours each week at organizations including Warrior Writers in New York City, YMCA of Greater St. Louis, and the Smithsonian National Zoo in Arlington, Virginia.
Later that day, the class of Fellows deployed to The Dream Center in downtown L.A. Fellows, staff, and community volunteers joined together for a day of service, constructing a new outdoor lunch area for residents and visitors, completing a landscaping project adjacent to the new picnic tables, and painting multiple hallways of the center’s residential area.
Following the project, Fellow Alum and Marine Corps Veteran Gabriel Corona led the 70 Fellows in reciting a new oath of service, to serving and inspiring in their communities. It’s a dedication to service that nearly 600 Fellows have pledged to-date since 2007.
On Sunday morning, the Fellows were presented a curriculum aimed at easing the transition to civilian life through a methodical and diligent application of: think, plan, do. It’s a strategy for transitioning meant to overcome the challenges that often come to define veteran transitions like the loss of purpose, mission and camaraderie.
For each Alpha Class Fellow, the fellowship’s service and curriculum components will provide a new kind of challenge over the next six months.
“Through repeated confrontations with fear in your military service,” Greitens noted, “you have found courage…We believe that this generation of veterans is an asset, and that you have more to contribute.”