The Mission Continues is an organization that gives returning veterans a way to keep employing the skills they learned on missions overseas. They’re willing to go nearly anywhere to lend help in an organized way: from schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District to the neighborhoods ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.
In a way, they’re using job skills they developed in the military and simply applying them in peaceful settings. Their founder, Eric Greitens, has written that most people harbor many misconceptions about veterans. People commonly believe that most veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, are generally depressed and have issues with anger. None of these assumptions are accurate, and The Mission Continues is one way veterans can demonstrate that most are actually well-trained and effective problem solvers and leaders.
One example is George Ortiz, a Marine Corps veteran who missed the sense of purpose he had while serving overseas. He put himself to work with a Mission Continues Fellowship at Doors of Hope, a shelter for homeless L.A. families, serving as a male role model for fatherless kids.
When he was with the Marine Corps, he worked in supply administration, and inventory management. While he participated in a community project for a Hollywood studio, he organized the supply of meals to students.
The Mission Continues has created service projects in more than 240 cities, drawing from a team of 27,000 veterans and civilians. Participants have cleaned parks, built baseball fields, and painted school buildings. As Greitens says, “Beyond the improvements made on the ground, each of these projects also demonstrated that our most recent generation of veterans is ready to contribute at home.”
“There’s a tremendous set of skills and abilities which they bring back from their military service that they can now use here at home. They’ve all learned what it takes to work with a team and accomplish a mission. They’re all used to being held accountable. They know what it takes to inspire people in difficult circumstances; they know that success doesn’t come easy. So they bring back those skills and also those attitudes which they can apply in a civilian context.”
Can you tell us about veterans in your own community who are participating with Mission Continues or who are donating their service to others in a similar way?