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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My Transition Was Easy, Finding Meaning After Service Was Not

By Heather Byington

On paper, I’m one of those vets who lack job stability and goal attainment after serving. Nearly four years after retirement, I’m back to square one. I wear many part-time hats: platoon leader, personal trainer, student, and Lyft driver.  It’s not the traditional definition of success, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Including Women in our Stories of Service

By Aryanna Berringer, volunteer

No one’s story should be suppressed or ignored, but all too often, that is the case for women veterans. We strive to empower women veterans to be leaders in and through our programs. We want to highlight one such story in anticipation of our 4th annual Women Veterans Leadership Summit and in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Aryanna Berringer is a Women Veterans Leadership Summit attendee and an active volunteer with our Pittsburgh service platoons. Here is her story as told by her. If you’re as inspired by these stories as we are, consider donating. Your support empowers women veterans to realize their full potential as civic leaders.

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Is it Enough? A Piece of Justice Blues

By David Riera, platoon member

I can remember being in school when Columbus Day was still on the calendar and MLK Day was celebrated as part of Black History Week. Now in 2019, almost 22 years after my last Black history report in U.S. History class, and 12 years since I received my honorable discharge, I reflect back and note that a day or a week was not justice at all.

As we completed our 2019 MLK project at Brownsville Middle School in Miami, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many other civic and community groups come to lend their strength, ‘cause three hours of raking dead leaves is no laughing matter, but at the end we all had smiles on our faces.  

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Celebrating a White Season through Blue Service

By Alwyn Rodriguez, volunteer

Yesterday

As the holidays came to a close, I took some time to reflect. I am truly grateful for my ability to continue to serve.

When I was discharged from the military, I went through numerous financial, professional, academic and even spiritual setbacks. The few holidays I can remember without having my family, not being in a comfortable bed, or eating my mom’s home cooking, was not ideal.

My time in the U.S. Navy seems both far and close at the same time. Yet I felt being able help and mingle with different people, especially when the holidays roll around, gave me a sense of purpose. But the holidays when I was with my brethren was spent in unfamiliar waters and lands, surrounded with mostly familiar faces was uplifting.

I rediscovered my esprit de corps when I joined The Mission Continues, and continue to flourish, to be more involved, and to improve others’ lives and the environment.

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MLK Day of Service 2019: Ending Food Insecurity in Columbus, Ohio

By Ian Haynes, City Impact Manager

In Columbus, Ohio, veterans and dedicated community members are on a mission to end food insecurity on the Southside. On January 26, 2019, the Columbus 1st Service Platoon continued this effort while honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service. As Dr. King emphasized, “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

One year ago the Columbus 1st Platoon held their first service project on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This year, the project was their largest to-date, and for the 45 participants (42 adults and 3 youth), including 26 veterans, it was a great opportunity to embody the values of Love and Selflessness that Dr. King lived daily.

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Seattle Seahawks Salute to Service with The Mission Continues

By Doug Pfeffer, West Region Executive Director

In August of 2018, we applied to the Seattle Seahawks to be named their Salute to Service partner for 2018. Every year, the National Football League hosts their Salute to Service month (November), where several veteran-specific events are held, along with game presentations and Veterans Day mentions. Of all of the teams in the league, the Seahawks are well known as one of the most active participants in the program. So much so, that they even partner with a non-profit of their own, which becomes the beneficiary of an outpouring of Seahawks love.

This is what we applied for, and this is what we were selected for. What we received blew our mind:

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San Antonio Veteran Jeremy Noble Reflects on Value of Continued Service

When I began my after-service journey I found it extremely hard to find a field of work that pushed me to achieve greatness as Special Forces once did when I was serving. A friend of mine who was a fellow veteran told me about a fellowship program with The Mission Continues. This program would allow me to continue my service through working with non-profits. I instantly dove forward with a 100% commitment. Along my new journey I began to regain confidence in myself and set college and business goals for the next 5-10 years.

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