October 31, 2015
Steve Johnston is one of the first supporters of The Mission Continues and current chairman of the St. Louis Leadership Committee. His family is a Gold Sponsor for The Mission Continues 5th Annual Veterans Day Gala on November 1st. In this blog post, he reflects on the early days of The Mission Continues and how watching the organization grow over the last seven years has been one of his greatest joys.
In the Fall of 2007, my dad Harry Johnston, was introduced to Eric Greitens through a mutual friend. He was immediately inspired by Eric’s vision for The Mission Continues – to empower veterans toward successful transitions through community service opportunities here at home. A few weeks later my dad had set up a lunch with Eric so I could learn more about this new organization – and left with the same enthusiasm my dad had felt. Our family was all in.
We attended the very first gala in 2009 in the Rotunda of City Hall. There were just a few Fellows at the time, and there wasn’t a huge turnout. But you could tell the momentum of the evening would carry forward and our family’s relationship with The Mission Continues grew exponentially from there.
Within the next year I joined the newly formed St. Louis Leadership Committee. Our goal was to spread awareness for The Mission Continues and execute a true “gala” to celebrate the organization’s accomplishments. The committee consisted of young, energetic business people who wanted to give back to those who’ve provided us with our freedoms. We got out with the staff members and Mission Continues Fellows during service projects both locally and nationally. It’s a very inspiring to serve alongside these veterans – they’re thanking us for supporting The Mission Continues, and we’re thanking them for continuing to build stronger communities here at home.
Our family has had front row seats, watching The Mission Continues grow during the last five years, and I’m proud to say I was part of that growth. The Mission Continues has empowered more than 3000 veterans through their Fellowship and Service Platoon Programs. The gala has transformed from an intimate gathering in Rotunda of City Hall to a 500+ person event with attendees from some of the most successful corporations in our country. It’s featured high profile speakers like Jon Stewart, Tom Brokaw, and General (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal. And two years ago when Admiral Mike Mullen stated that The Mission Continues was the model for transitioning our heroic veterans into their own communities, that was truly humbling.
I’m currently the Chair of the St. Louis Leadership Committee and we’re looking forward to the 5th Annual Veterans Day Gala on November 1st. We’re planning to raise $500,000 for The Mission Continues that night. If you’re interested in helping us achieve this goal please visit www.missioncontinues.org or email Lyndsey Reichardt at firstname.lastname@example.org