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Veterans Serving Others and Themselves – The Mission Continues

Core Value #1
The focus was on veterans, the organization that cared about them and their future, serving others always the theme; but taking care of their own as well… The Mission Continues summit weekend included so much. We had received a kind invitation to attend after an earlier event in Detroit for homeless veterans (See Motown has a new...) that one of their fellows and team had led. So much to absorb, so much to write about, so much to enjoy, so much to reflect on, so much to appreciate, …


Fellows doing Service Project
First, the sense of fellowship with others who have served was at the top of the list! The training first, then the service project and then a night of fun! Military life taught us how to do that: work hard first; then party! But the gala event was educational as well and the guest speakers including Major A is for Awesome and Tom Brokaw were inspiring.

We met The Mission Continues fellows for 2011 (100 plus) at their service project on Saturday morning! Pumped up and ready to work they put together 3,000 bags of essentials like tooth paste, soap, shampoo... for homeless children in St Louis. In less than two hours, these organized, hard working veterans had taken boxes of supplies and turned them into individual bags to be given to each child at a homeless center during the upcoming holidays. Essentials we take for granted… yes, time to reflect on how to help others. But by giving back to the local community each fellow was connecting, learning and appreciating themselves too.

MilAve_Deborah arriving at Gala
The fellows are disabled veterans but you could not tell that day! I saw the biggest smiles, the pats on the back, the handshakes, hugs and other expressions of wellness. They spoke volumes about the folks they supported, what they were doing in their communities and organizations. White water rafting trips to help veterans heal, repairing bicycles and then giving away the bicycles for those in need, Sister Elizabeth serving her community as a new novice, training service animals for veterans and others, they spoke to us with enthusiasm and bright hope for their futures.

Serving their nation had been their mission while in the armed forces; now The Mission Continues was providing the connection to their local community. Providing core values, a Fellow oath, camaraderie, connections and outreach to socialize and be part of the solution, not the problem. Change the view of many Americans concerning veterans – they want to help!

Stacking boxes during service project- MilAve_Col_K
The organization started by former Navy SEAL and Rhodes Scholar Eric Greitins, has focus and is growing fast! 100 Fellows this year, 500 is the goal for next year and resources for training, grants, service projects, etc. New volunteer opportunities and support from corporations such as Southwest Airlines. Southwest’s Kati Tucker was on the project line with the Fellows, smiling, laughing and knowing that they had provided the air travel for many of the attendees in the room! The Mission Continues is just basically contagious – you can not see them in action without wanting to catch their spirit! Want to volunteer? Give a donation? Tell a veteran about them? Please take a look at their website: http://www.missioncontinues.org/

You can find them on twitter and Facebook too! Reminder that this Friday is Veterans Day! Have a great day if you are a Vet and say thank you to one as well!

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