November 3, 2017
The morning of September 9th, at East Capitol Urban Farm in Washington D.C. was EJ Delpero’s time to shine. He had prepared for this moment for over a year.
During EJ’s six-month fellowship with The Mission Continues and subsequent tenure as a service platoon leader, he was able to translate his military leadership skills into civilian contexts.
Now as a seasoned volunteer for The Mission Continues, he and his teammates stepped up to the plate this fall when they were tasked with leading the planning and execution for this year’s 9/11 Day of Service.
As the biggest service project of the year, “My leadership skills were put to the test, but this project became more than that” said EJ.
He explained, “We don’t get many chances to feel like we’re living life to the fullest. Service projects that inspire thriving communities with The Mission Continues get me there every time. For our 9/11 Day of Service, the Washington D.C. Service Platoons had an opportunity to continue to serve—to the fullest.”
And that day, EJ did shine, arm in arm with fellow veterans by his side. With his strong foray into volunteer service, EJ’s goal after finishing his college degree is to break into the social sector professionally. He is proud to continue his mission to serve his country just as he had pledged to do when he enlisted in the United States Navy in 2008.
Behind EJ’s continued service is a series of grants from Boeing. EJ was awarded a Boeing-funded Mission Continues Fellowship for transitioning veterans in 2015, serving with the National Air and Space Museum. And through Boeing’s lead investment in the D.C. 4th Service Platoon, EJ and his fellow platoon members have been able to make an impact in national parks in Southeast D.C.
Beginning in 2013 with a $350,000 investment in 30 Mission Continues Fellowships in major cities around the country, Boeing has become The Mission Continues’ largest corporate partner.
Since then, Boeing has fueled 180 Mission Continues Fellowships, several service platoons, and the organization’s capacity for growth and impact nationally. On local levels, Boeing has supported our work not only in Washington D.C., but also Chicago, Colorado Springs, Denver, Houston, St. Louis, San Antonio, and many other cities. Their support is critical in helping The Mission Continues create pathways to success for veterans like EJ with their own skills, interests and ambitions.
Flo Groberg, Boeing’s Director of Veterans Outreach, said, “Through programs and partnerships with great organizations like The Mission Continues, Boeing and its employees are driving positive, lasting change for our military and those who have served.”
As a company that works closely with the US military, “part of the Boeing mission is to protect our troops by providing them with the best equipment the industry can offer in order to safely and successfully accomplish the mission at hand.” Flo continues, “Part of my team’s mission is to create pathways for our veterans, service members and their families to successfully reintegrate back into the workforce.”
That’s because Boeing believes that veterans make us better. (Leading by example, Boeing employs 20,000+ veterans and reservists.) This is important, not just for veterans, but for the benefit that veterans bring to the civilian world. EJ laments that “Veterans have exceptional leadership skills, but those abilities often remain untapped.”
“The magic of The Mission Continues is that we bring together veterans of military service who are uniquely conditioned and qualified to excel in ‘stressful environments,’ and we drive that force forward to support members of local communities who may be in need.”
EJ’s service platoon has been a place where he can lead and learn, and have a likeminded group of veterans to rely upon. And as a student veteran, this kind of activity has complemented his studies. “These past three years have been, for me, the definition of thriving,” he said.
“Volunteering in DC 4th Platoon alongside Boeing employees improved my leadership skills and my network. This, combined with my fellowship at the National Air & Space Museum, increased my job prospects.”
EJ recently passed the baton to fellow veteran and stalwart volunteer Rose Feroah. “At The Mission Continues, veterans lift each other up,” he says. He’s still volunteering with the platoon. The power lies in “working together to help communities in need, and inspire kids to grow up with a responsibility to their community. Great partners like Boeing are driving us forward to inspire future fellows.” EJ concludes, “I know I was inspired.”
Report for duty in your community with The Mission Continues. Serve with a Service Platoon at an upcoming service event near you or apply for a fellowship. You can learn more about our programs on our website and stay updated on the latest news and announcements on Facebook and Twitter.