This weekend’s Alpha Class 2017 Orientation in San Diego is pretty special. As you may know, each class’s Orientation takes place in a different city, but this time, for our 20th Orientation, we are returning to San Diego, where we held our first ever Orientation back in 2012. Since then we’ve developed a lot of momentum and sustained service there. This class of Fellows and Platoon Leaders can look forward to spending a day helping the San Diego service platoons’ efforts with some of the city’s public schools.
San Diego has over 1 million residents, and over 100,000 of them are veterans. We’ve worked hard to establish a strong presence through the San Diego 1st and 2nd Platoons, both of which have dedicated members who are totally rockin’ it. They concentrate on City Heights, a densely populated area where 85% of K-12 students qualify for free or reduced lunches.
We work with the San Diego Unified School District to help enact community-based school reform so that City Heights can have the kind of quality schools every student deserves. Our goals are to help improve literacy, overall graduation rates, and to make the schools safe and attractive. So far the platoons have renovated and beautified a community garden, added playground features to Rosa Parks Elementary, and more. Continue reading “Alpha Class 2017’s First Act of Service: Supporting San Diego Schools”
January 22, 2017 By Mike Plue, San Diego 2nd Platoon
On the blog we’ve discussed the identity and experiences of post-9/11 veterans a lot. But we also want to hear from pre-9/11 veterans with their wealth of experience and dedication to service. The two generations share more in common than meets the eye. We interviewed Mike Plue, a stalwart member of the San Diego 2nd Service Platoon, to talk about his perspective and experience as a pre-9/11 veteran.
Over the years he has collected these inspiring takeaways:
The veteran bond transcends generation
Throughout my civilian career I have come into contact with veterans, and regardless of branch or era, I have felt an immediate bond and higher level of trust. (I even was hired by my current employer based upon the referral of a veteran that I met over 10 years before.)
But what really solidified this lesson for me was when I had the honor of visiting the VA hospital in San Diego delivering care packages. I spoke with veterans who had their careers in the military and some who had only served for a few years. All who I spoke with had worked to establish successful civilian careers, and had raised families after coming home. At the end of the day, all agreed that the military was the greatest time in their life, and that enlisting was the best decision they could have made.
I’ve realized whether you are a pre-9/11 or post-9/11 veteran, there is always the common calling to get involved with something “bigger than yourself.” With time comes perspective, and like the veterans I visited at the VA, you realize the calling to serve whether it be to pick up a rifle or a paint brush. Even after we leave active duty, we are a band of brothers and sisters, and we are here to make the world a better place.
Passion is the act of having a powerful or compelling emotion or feeling. We hear this word used often in today’s culture: “I’m passionate about rock climbing, music, photography, riding horses, cooking, travel….” The list is endless.
Planting trees and protecting the wildlife has always been a part of who I am. Since a very young age I have been active in many community-based habitat restoration efforts. This lifestyle helped me to see the earth as a living organism that we all must take a responsibility to protect.
After my military service, I wanted to continue my path as an environmentalist.
My decision to leave my active duty family didn’t come lightly. I joined the Marine Corps at 17 and was in boot camp two weeks after my high school graduation. The Marine Corps has been all I’ve know my adult life. The friends, leadership styles and experiences have shaped me into the man and the father I am today.
Nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives in the events of 9/11. And five million men and women have stepped up to defend our nation in uniform since that day. Last week, The Mission Continues deployed in communities across the country for a day of service to mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Volunteers built playgrounds for at-risk youth, provided much needed maintenance for a domestic violence shelter, and rehabilitated a community river trail — all in honor of those lost in the events of 9/11.