Here’s One Deployment We Can’t Get Enough Of

August 8, 2016
By Mary Beth Bruggeman

13502557_10153725693838170_7969695873164870499_oMary Beth Bruggeman, left, serving at Operation Motown Muster.

The word “deployment” has so many emotional associations for military veterans that it can be difficult to explain to a non-veteran why we miss them.

Few relish the time spent away from family, missed birthdays and anniversaries, first steps and even the birth of their children. They don’t miss the fear, the discomfort, the flies, the hole in the ground that serves as a shared toilet, or the pain and sadness from the loss of their comrades in arms.

But sure enough, through the joy and the excitement of homecoming, there often lingers an unsettling desire to be back out there with our brothers and sisters, committed to a difficult mission that, by its very nature, tries us and unites us in common purpose.

And in a twist of psychology that defies all reason, we miss it when it’s over.

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How I Found a Job I Love with The Mission Continues

May 16, 2016
By Stephanie Grimes, City Impact Manager

“How’s the new job going?” is a question I have answered no less than 50 times in the last month, as I recently took on the role of City Impact Manager in Pittsburgh for The Mission Continues.

Over the years, I have lived in a lot of places and been in lot of roles.  After graduating college, I moved to Philadelphia where I taught middle school as a Teach for America corp member.

A year later I married my husband, who was in the Army.  We moved from one duty location to another for the next four years. I found meaningful work in a number of jobs supporting high risk youth, had a child of my own, endured a few deployments, and in 2011 I finally ended up in Pittsburgh upon my husband’s discharge from the Army.

Truth be told, we had never even visited Pittsburgh before making the jump.  We crossed our fingers, told ourselves that we could make it through anything, and made our way through tunnels and over bridges to our new home.  In the years following my husband’s transition from the military, our family fell in love with our new city of Pittsburgh.

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A Sense of Belonging, Together

May 3, 2016
By Mary Beth Bruggeman

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on The Huffington Post)

On the rare occasion that 50 women gather together in the military, their male counterparts hover anxiously outside the room, wondering what conspiracies they must be plotting within. So you can imagine the awe and great personal fulfillment I felt when 52 women veterans from The Mission Continues – representing all five branches of the military – came together for the first time in April to share stories, to laugh, and to learn.

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Bringing Boombox Home

March 16, 2016
By Michael Liguori

Mike Ligouri paints a pavilion at Fort Wadsworth for our 9/11 Day of Service in New York.
Michael Liguori paints a pavilion at Fort Wadsworth for our 9/11 Day of Service in New York.

When I was in the Marines, we were taught to have attention to detail. It was a matter of life and death measured in seconds and the more attention we paid to the small things, the more we had a chance to survive. The emphasis on attention to detail also taught me to appreciate the little things like the biweekly paycheck, the honor of serving my country and of course, my prize possession, a Sony Boombox (yes you read that correctly…a Sony Boombox.)

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Missing the Mark With Our Veterans

November 11, 2015
by Mary Beth Bruggeman

Vol_Ser_Mis_Body (1)Volunteers of The Mission Continues Los Angeles 1st Platoon build a new outdoor learning area at Stevenson Middle School.

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on The Huffington Post)

I waited in line last month to board a flight and heard the gate attendant announce that veterans and active duty military were invited to board the plane ahead of the other passengers. I watched as several veterans made their way to the front to take advantage of this kindness. I held my place in line, waiting for my turn to board, and I was struck by how misdirected these kindnesses have become. I raised my right hand and vowed to serve the citizens of this country, not to be served by them.

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The Veteran Bootprint

November 11, 2015
By Spencer Kympton

MAL_5597 copy

World War I ended with the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, but the fighting had actually stopped months earlier. According to an armistice signed by Germany and the Allies, hostilities ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

The following year, President Wilson declared November 11th as Armistice Day, forever marking its significance in American and world history. It was a day to honor the sacrifice and service of the men and women who fought in the ‘war to end all wars’. But, as importantly, it was a day to participate in exercises that promoted peace and mutual understanding – in hopes that conflicts so catastrophic would never happen again.

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A Great Place to Serve, A Great Place to Work

For the second straight year, Outside Magazine has recognized The Mission Continues in its annual Best Places to Work survey, which measures job satisfaction among innovative practices and a healthy work-life balance.

To Marvin Cadet, an Iraq veteran and member of the 2013 Bravo Fellowship class, the ranking is as accurate as it is unsurprising. He joined the team after his Fellowship ended to boost grassroots fundraising.

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