A Platoon Leader Continues Mission After Tragedy

August 15, 2018
By Kristle Helmuth, Platoon Leader

This year marks the 6th year that I have been part of The Mission Continues in one capacity or another. From the fellowship, to being a platoon leader, to now with my new role as an external affairs intern. The journey hasn’t been an easy one, but what’s a journey without a little adventure, right?

I first found the organization years after I got out of the Army. I had spent several years caring for my husband who was wounded in Iraq, and I felt like I had lost myself in that. I was looking for something, anything I could grab onto that would be mine, something I did.

I felt like I had not accomplished anything since I got out, and I felt useless.

My Mission Continues Fellowship gave that pride back to me, along with a rekindled love for service, something that would become a part of the new me in ways I couldn’t anticipate. It also gave me some new skills and the confidence to make things happen.

Veterans and community members work together at Mayport Elementary school just 6 days after the death of platoon member Nate Helmuth. This project was part of the national #Legacyofservice campaign.
Veterans and community members work together at Mayport Elementary school just 6 days after the death of platoon member Nate Helmuth. This project was part of the national MLK Day #Legacyofservice campaign.

From there, I continued to be involved in my community until the opportunity to launch the first Jacksonville service platoon came about. Without hesitation, I would agree to take on this challenge.

I had no idea what I was doing. There were a lot of growing pains. I had to learn how to communicate what the group was doing, recruit platoon members, keep them engaged. I had to learn how to lead in a new way. Four years later, there are still challenges, but I’ve learned a lot about myself and others along the way.

More importantly though, I’ve got to see time and time again what The Mission Continues stands for, and not through their words, but through action.

So, every day when I am asked, Why do you do it? What motivates you? I know exactly how to respond. To empower veterans like myself to find a new way to feel like their experiences are being used for good; to empower future generations (like my own children) to want to be part of change in their own communities and beyond; to be part of creating that legacy of action and service that will stand for generations to come.

This year, Jacksonville really got to see legacy brought to life through the loss of one of our own platoon members, my husband.

When we think about legacy, we often think about the future, about our grandchildren, and their grandchildren, we don’t expect it to come so soon. This year, Jacksonville really got to see legacy brought to life through the loss of one of our own platoon members, my husband.

Veterans and community members work together at Mayport Elementary school just 6 days after the death of platoon member Nate Helmuth. This project was part of the national #Legacyofservice campaign.
Another photo of veterans and community members at their MLK Day national #Legacyofservice service project.

Suddenly, the things that he touched in the community became larger than life, and the impact he made became very real. It became apparent to me, and all of us that all we have is this moment, this is now, we are doing this now, and The Mission Continues has provided us a vessel through which to carry it out.

I am re-energized by the opportunities provided to veterans like me through The Mission Continues. I challenge everyone (veteran or non-veteran) to get involved, find your passion, and run with it — it will open all the doors you need, and if you fall along the way, your Mission Continues family will be there to pick you up.

I challenge everyone (veteran or non-veteran) to get involved, find your passion, and run with it