Planting the Seeds of Service

By Quinton Goffinet, former platoon leader

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.

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Why Detroit? Why The Mission Continues? It’s Easy—These Are My People

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.

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The Mission Continues Supports Transgender Service Members and Veterans

Statement updated on April 12, 2019.

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. 

6 Tips for a Kickass Job Application

By Caitlin Zbikowski

Our Talent & Culture team is dedicated to our craft and wants all of our job applicants to have a great experience while applying for a staff position with The Mission Continues. If you’ve had the pleasure of speaking with one of them, you know that they genuinely care about each applicant and want to hear your story.

We have noticed trends in the challenges people face when applying for staff positions. We decided to look at the most common issues, and directly address them here. These aren’t top secret tips your recruiter is hiding from you — no, quite the opposite. These are pieces of advice they find themselves coming back to time and time again.

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An Interview with Service Leadership Corps Member Allison Sage

Allison Sage is an emerging leader of the veteran yoga community in Denver, Colorado. Allison began practicing yoga in 2012 after returning from a combat tour in Afghanistan. She views her yoga practice as a fundamental component of her recovery from PTS and depression. Her mission is to share trauma-informed yoga with fellow veterans who are struggling to adapt back to civilian life.

Part of Allison’s interest in our Service Leadership Corps program was to further improve her community outreach, as she hopes to bring trauma-informed yoga classes to her public classes as a way to empower everyone to find healing through yoga.

We interviewed Allison to get a deeper understanding of her perspective as a woman veteran.

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What I Said at the Detroit Wounded Warrior Project Gala

By Emily Ferstle, City Impact Manager

I was honored to be invited to speak at the Wounded Warrior Project Gala in Detroit on February 16, 2019, in Detroit. The event brought together 80 warriors and guests from across the Midwest and Rust Belt, to honor and remember all those who have served.

The theme of the event was “the Roaring 20s” to honor the 100 year anniversary of the end of WWI, which we just celebrated this past Veterans Day, or “Armistice Day” on November 11.

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How This Orlando Veteran Puts His Values into Action

By Robert Withers, platoon leader

A renewed sense of purpose, a real impact on issues in my community, and a post-service legacy my daughters can be proud of — these are just a few of the reasons I’m proud to have chosen to continue serving with The Mission Continues.

On the morning of May 19th, 2010, I lost my right leg to a Russian legacy mine while defending Bagram Air Base from an infiltration attack involving suicide bombers in American uniform. It rocked my world and completely changed the trajectory of my life. Everything I had sacrificed to become a captain in the Army seemed wasted. I had a very difficult transition in to ‘the new normal’ and really felt like I was a floundering veteran.

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Years After Fellowship, Veteran Recalls Renewed Purpose

Once told by doctors she’d never be able to work, this veteran defied expectations by volunteering daily with The Mission Continues.

One serendipitous day at church, Howard Kympton met a veteran named Meeka McWilliams. After some chatting, they discovered they had something in common: The Mission Continues!

It turned out that Howard was the father of the president of The Mission Continues (Spencer Kympton), while Meeka had participated in its Fellowship Program in 2017. After hearing all that Meeka overcame as a veteran, Howard concluded that her story was “nothing short of remarkable.” He told us, “She’s an amazing young woman with a marvelous experience to share.” Today we share with you Meeka’s fellowship story, as told by her.

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San Diego Veterans Are Making an Impact with Future Achievers

By Tristan Williamson

If you were to mention the name Logan Heights to the residents of San Diego whose experience with the historic neighborhood amounts to driving past it on Interstate 5, it’s likely that their reaction would be largely informed by the decades-old stigma brought on by the Tijuana Cartel-allied gang bearing this community’s name – the Logan Heights Gang. You would hear about the 1-square mile community’s reputation for violent crime, how its poverty level sits three times higher than that of San Diego, or its quadrupled population density compared to the rest of the city.

You probably wouldn’t hear about the culture of historic resilience in Logan – how what was once the largest Chicano population on the west coast became displaced by new infrastructure as San Diego grew, sowing the seeds of grassroots activism and neighborhood advocacy.

There’s a certain grit about Logan Heights derived from that legacy of collective efficacy that has made neighbors out of co-residents. Shared trust and solidarity bring neighbors out of their homes to keep an eye on the side streets and alleyways or to help a neighbor in need.

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