A Veteran Mother, Embarking on Her Post-Military Career

May 13, 2018
By Sarah Silva, Fellow Alumna

My fellowship with The Mission Continues has had an incredible impact on my life. I spent five years in the Marines. During that time, I met my husband, and we had our two sons.  When I left the Marines in 2011, I was lucky to be able to spend a few years at home with the boys while they were still tiny.

Once they were both in school, I went back too, finally completing my bachelor’s degree. However, as I reached my final year of college, I was no closer to figuring out what I wanted to do with my degree once I had it.

Since moving here, one of the things my family has loved the most about San Antonio is its parks. In particular, we spend a lot of time at Hemisfair, a downtown park that is being redeveloped.  We watch movies on the lawn, attend festivals, and the kids see how filthy they can get between the splash pad and the sand area. We’ve spent a lot of amazing Saturdays together there.

I saw on Facebook that the Hemisfair Conservancy, which handles philanthropic support for Hemisfair, was looking for a veteran to spend six months assisting them in their mission and learning from them as a Mission Continues fellow.

May 13th, 2018|All, Fellowships|

Seattle 1st Platoon, Supporting the Building of Strong Communities

May 10, 2018

Seattle 1st Service Platoon, The Mission Continues

“I remember when I was in Afghanistan and Iraq, I used to hope that those who wanted to leave and find better lives would find them,” said City Impact Manager Doug Pfeffer, an Army veteran.

Once he came back to the United States, Doug dedicated his career to helping veterans. But joining The Mission Continues has expanded his mission to more than that — he works with service-minded veterans to make a difference in the lives of others too.

As a City Impact Manager, Doug leads multi-year operations empowering veterans to build stronger communities. Through Operation Back to the Beach, Seattle 1st Service Platoon helps under-resourced neighborhoods and supports a number of nonprofit organizations looking to do good. One such place is the Ethiopian Community in Seattle (ECS), which serves refugees and immigrants of Ethiopia and various African descents.

“It has day camps for kids, adult meetings, community activities and is a beacon of hope in an otherwise difficult part of the south side of Seattle.” Doug reflects, “At the ECS, I see the hope I had for potential refugees come full circle. This is why I served — to help those less fortunate than me.”

May 10th, 2018|All, Service Platoons|

A Snapshot of Service Platoons in 2017

May 9, 2018

May 9th, 2018|All|

One Team. One Mission. #HerMission.

May 5, 2018

The Mission Continues - Women Veterans Leadership Summit 2018

Meet the group of exceptional women veterans who are on the frontlines of community change. There were a total of 75 participants attending the Women Veterans Leadership Summit, and while every woman who attended is a rockstar, we wanted to share a sample cross-section of 10 participants from across the country as examples of the variety of backgrounds, experiences, and stories that are represented at our summit each year.

This is #HerMission.

 

May 5th, 2018|All|

Bringing Peace to a Mind at War

May 3, 2018
By Kazimieras Urbonavicius, Platoon Member

My experiences in the military and transition back home has been anything but easy. It’s been a constant struggle dealing with the demons in my mind, and the environment back home that surrounds me.

Everyone’s experiences in the military are different, but many result in the same outcome: lost. Lost in life, lost in understanding, just good plain old lost. And since leaving the military, service has been the only way that I have found happiness and contentment.

May 3rd, 2018|All, Service Platoons|

An Update on Today’s Report, and Veteran Impact Nationwide

May 2, 2018

To our partners:

Over two consecutive weekends The Mission Continues veterans, alongside hundreds of volunteers, engaged in purposeful action in communities across the country. To mark Earth Day, we completed nearly 30 Earth Day service projects cleaning up parks and other natural landscapes and beautified schools and community green spaces. This past weekend we held our third-annual Women Veterans Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. This year’s summit, themed Unapologetically Her, brought together nearly 80 of the most impressive, engaged and committed women veterans, local women leaders and volunteers to help champion a movement for all women to write their own rules on how they will live, work and lead.

While we remain steadfastly focused on our mission, we want to share an update involving the investigations of Governor Eric Greitens. As we have said from the beginning, and reiterate here, we abstain from political activities. We deeply value the trust you place in us to accomplish our mission. The Mission Continues did not provide, nor authorize the use of, our donors’ information to any persons or groups for political/campaign purposes. Nor did we promote Governor Greitens for political office.

Earlier today, Missouri State Representative Jay Barnes and the Missouri House Committee released a report with its latest findings regarding The Mission Continues donor list. The report demonstrates The Mission Continues followed all established policies and did not provide, nor authorize the use of, private donor information to the Greitens Group or others affiliated with the Greitens campaign for political purposes.

The full report and findings can be read here.

May 2nd, 2018|All|

Why I’m Looking Forward to Women Veterans Leadership Summit 2018

April 24, 2018
By Karen Quiles, Platoon Member

77 dynamic women veteran leaders will gather in DC for this weekend for our 3rd annual Women Veterans Leadership Summit. Together they’ll engage in communication and writing workshops, experience inspiring speakers, and grow their personal and professional networks.

This is a unique forum to exchange ideas and solutions around the challenges women veterans face while developing pathways to increase women veteran leadership within their communities.

As we countdown the days to the summit, we want to highlight some of our participants and how they came to The Mission Continues. Here’s Karen Quiles’s story.

 

How the Military Empowered Me

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I grew up in a very humble environment and I had a simple upbringing. Growing up in Puerto Rico was hard for me in many ways. I felt like a lot of programs were out of reach. I started working when I was 15 and became homeless in my late teens, on top of a lack of educational opportunities, family problems, and an unstable government.

I enlisted a little bit after 9/11 with the Marine Corps and had an opportunity to travel and live in other countries. The military was my ticket out of my negative environment. Enlisting opened so many doors that would have otherwise never been available to me.

April 24th, 2018|All, Service Platoons|

The Scars Within Us and the Landscape

April 22, 2018
By David Riera, Mission Continues volunteer

My experience in war-torn Iraq makes me reflect that the land under my feet this very moment in Miami is also embattled, and this time the mission to help it belongs to all of us.

~~~

When I was discharged from the Marine Corps, I had a collection of over 40 MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) Tabasco sauce bottles filled with sand from every place I was deployed in Iraq. They reminded me of my bond to the places I would sooner forget.

As the CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter flew us to secure our first target in Iraq, I saw the landscape cracked and cratered. The sand was piled high to create 10-foot defensive burms. The lakes and streams were poisoned, littered with rotting carcasses. In that moment the price of conflict was grafted onto me.

That’s when I knew scorched earth operations did not just change the land – it changed me too. It was not just about the loss of human life on all sides. It was also about trying to survive in a place where our missions violated the environment every day.

Because the environment, like a warrior, carries its history upon its face.

April 22nd, 2018|All, Service Platoons|

Volunteering Is the New Network

April 20, 2018
By Brian Wilson, Mission Continues alumnus

Brian Wilson is a Mission Continues Fellowship Alumnus and a veteran of the US Army. He is currently the Creative Technology Manager at Combined Arms in Houston, Texas. 

I have volunteered since I was 12. My dad talked to a person at the Parks and Recreation department in our small town and for six hours a week I pulled weeds at parks and picked

April 20th, 2018|All, Staff Perspectives|

Columbus Ohio 1st Service Platoon Tackles Food Insecurity

April 19, 2018
By Ian Haynes, City Impact Manager

We had an amazing service project recently in Columbus Ohio to kick off our partnership with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank! Our volunteer operations are focused on combating food insecurity on the Southside of the city through work with an urban farm and multiple food pantries. We had 34 volunteers participate, comprised of 14 veterans and 4 new platoon members. This amounted to 136 service hours in which we completed four projects at two sites.

April 19th, 2018|All, Service Platoons|