Veterans served in projects across the country for Earth Day. Protecting the environment is important to us as an extension of protecting the people who live in it. Clean air, clean water, and access to green spaces are all essential for current and future generations to thrive.
See what veterans and non-veteran community members accomplished for Earth Day!
This Mother’s Day I will be in my third trimester with my fourth child, who will be born while I am still serving in the reserves. In the 17 years I have served, the policy for pregnant women has changed dramatically for the better, though the demands of being a mother in the military was probably the greatest challenge I have faced.
Mary Beth Bruggeman, vice president of program strategy, had the opportunity to speak at the NationSwell Summit West last week. She shared her story of service from the Marine Corps to The Mission Continues, and how the opportunity to find a new mission filled a need in her post-military life.
You can watch the full speech above, or read the transcript below:
The Arlington Service Platoon led its first project with Boys & Girls Club on Earth Day as we built a garden area and outdoor reading and play spaces to provide opportunities for the local youth to enjoy green space.
For over five years The Mission Continues has been an integral part of my life. Volunteering has always been important to me, but with TMC I found that sense of purpose I had lost when I separated from service. It seems that part of my life came full-circle once I joined The Mission Continues because it mirrored my decision to join the military.
Looking back, both experiences have taught me lessons which will always be a part of me, and these decisions came at critical moments in my life. In both circumstances I was lost, and I can honestly say I found my way back thanks to serving with The Mission Continues and the military.
The attacks of September 11, 2001 happened when I was a teenager. At the time, I believed our enemies had proved they were going to bring the fight to us. I wanted to bring the fight to them – on our terms, not theirs. This motivated me to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps.
I separated from the military in 2007. By that time my wife and I wanted to start a family, and I wanted to pursue a different career, one in which I could build and create. Chemistry, physics, engineering – I loved it all.
But the issue I had with transitioning from military service into the civilian world was the grind. The routine gets dull, you stop wanting to get out of bed, and it becomes hard finding purpose in your daily activities. You start to think, What’s the point? Nobody’s going to miss me. I’m not going to do anything worthwhile today.
What I wanted above all was to work on something bigger than myself. I eventually decided I wanted to work in renewable energy because it was for the greater good.
The Mission Continues empowers veterans and communities to unify under a common mission, and today that mission is Earth Day. Veterans are motivated to serve, and some say it’s because we still care about the land – and the people – we once fought to protect.
By Heather Byington, Service Leadership Corps member
When I left home in 1993, I vowed I’d never come back for anything longer than a visit. Home was Detroit. What I didn’t realize until I had some separation was that the negative feelings I had about the city were a result of my home life and the fact that one of my friends had been carjacked. He was murdered at 19, and his killers were 15 and 16-years old.
The Mission Continues stands in solidarity with the transgender community as its members struggle for recognition as equal citizens. The Defense Department’s implementation of a ban on service by openly transgender Americans runs counter to our core values, our experience serving and supporting LGBTQ+ veterans, and to recent research on force readiness and troop cohesion.
The Mission Continues was founded with five core values, of which “respect” remains the standard for all who serve with us. In our words and deeds, the value explicitly exclaims: We believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and that they can make a difference.
Our experience is exactly that – through our work in under-resourced and under-represented communities, transgender veterans have been and continue to be critical leaders in the neighborhoods and cities that need their talents and skills.
Furthermore, we believe the ban is a step in the wrong direction and revives a devastating legacy of minimizing and dishonoring the service of LGBTQ+ veterans.
The Mission Continues will steadfastly maintain and defend our practices of inclusivity and affirming the rights, humanity and identity of transgender people and our LGBTQ+ veterans. We welcome and honor their service and authentic selves, knowing our communities and our country are stronger for their contributions.