Social equality – or the lack thereof — has played a deciding role in how communities identify, thrive, survive, or die. Every community — from the veteran community to the conservation community — has to actively find those voices that have been left out of the conversation, and empower them to be heard.
As I reflect on the works of African American legends like Dr. King, George Washington Carver, the Buffalo Soldiers, and other personal heroes of mine, I am prompted to be mindful where social, economic, and environmental justice for all can (and needs to) be intertwined.
Latonya Wilson is a veteran and a breast cancer survivor. She earned a Mission Continues Fellowship in 2017, where her dedication to service shone brightly. Here is her story, and why she is exemplary of the values of our dear friend Mark Weber and the Mark Weber Award.
Latonya enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17 and served for nearly 13 years, with deployments to Korea and Afghanistan under her belt. After separating from the military, she served overseas as a government contractor for nearly eight years.
During this time, she was diagnosed with breast cancer twice and underwent numerous surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.
By 2016, Latonya was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Many people might have given up at this point and been resigned to living out their days in search of relative comfort and peace.
But not Latyona. Inspired by the values she developed in the Army, Latonya dedicated her life to service again. She volunteered with The American Cancer Society, visiting VA Cancer Treatment Facilities to inspire and encourage female cancer patients, fed the homeless at shelters, and assisted a senior housing facilities with daily activities. Continue reading “Meet Latonya Wilson, Mark Weber Award Recipient”
The Miami 1st Service Platoon welcomed over 100 new fellows and platoon leaders with open arms on Friday, January 26th. The purpose? To convene for a weekend of learning, connecting, and preparing for their new mission.
To show these newcomers what we’re made of, the weekend kicked off on Saturday with a Mission Continues must-have: a service project.
New Fellows Get Five Pieces of Advice
Veteran Derek Auguste spoke to the incoming class of fellows, leaving them with five pieces of advice as they begin their journey. Listen to his full speech below.
I’ve learned that there’s more than one kind of veteran. There’s me: someone who’s been in the military. Then, there’s the kind of veteran who fought a different kind of war — a war here at home, and many would say the struggle is ongoing. It is the fight for equal rights.
Residential construction is not a field in which many women choose to make their careers, but I have found that the time management, organization, strategy, and leadership skills — all skills I learned in the Marine Corps — are highly valuable there.
I originally joined the military wanting to make a little difference in the big world, and I wanted to challenge myself. I discovered that ability to make a difference and to challenge myself in the military. I served my country for five years, and when I had to leave to raise my children, it left me with a hole in my heart after which I found myself wandering and wondering what to do with my life after leaving the Corps.
A few years ago, we published a blog post by Tyler Thompson’s mother, Robin Herzog. Today, years after his fellowship has concluded, Tyler still serves his community. “Why?” do you ask? His story will answer your question.
The day I returned to America from Iraq in 2005 was the most pleasurable moment of my entire existence. I felt sheer ecstasy from cheating death several times that year, and knew I would never have to dodge bombs and bullets again in that desolate wasteland.
I separated from the military and began studying Criminal Justice, while working full-time as a supervisor at Starbucks. After a couple years of keeping myself extremely busy, I started to slow down.
It was a cold wintery morning in Fort Benning, Georgia. I had just gotten done with my turn shooting when the Drill Sergeant came up to me and ordered, “Clear your weapon and leave it pointed down range, then head over and eat breakfast, be back in 20 minutes.” Continue reading “The Hardest Lesson I had to Unlearn”
While shoppers all over the country rushed to grab Friday the 13th sales, 90 veterans from all over the country rushed to grab rakes, power tools, and paint brushes to help restore Houston neighborhoods after the damage Hurricane Harvey dealt.
In the time since then, we have committed to help Houston communities with long-term recovery efforts. Rebuilding in Houston is a mission that will take years to accomplish, but with a little help from Delta Class of 2017, it was off to a great start.Continue reading “The Start of Long Term Recovery in Houston”
My name is Jin Kong. I am a husband and a father, an immigrant and a veteran. I am not a rarity, but one of many immigrant stories from my military days.
One friend told me he walked across the Mexico/US border with his mother at a very young age. He was deported then and later came back to the US legally. Another medic was a Southeast-Asian Buddhist who converted to Mormonism and married before our deployment. One of our infantry brothers immigrated from Argentina. He took an injury to one eye in the war while serving as a sniper. He later became a photographer and traversed Iraq while the war was still on, armed only with a camera and a local guide.Continue reading “This Is for the Immigrant Veterans Who Inspired My Fellowship”