July 20, 2017
Maggie Seymour, Grassroots Supporter
One Marine. Coast to Coast. 100 Days.
I, Maggie Seymour, a U.S. Marine Corps Captain transitioning to the Reserves, am an avid ultra-runner on a mission. On July 22, I’ll embark on a 3,300 mile journey across the United States to give back and raise awareness for the communities that have supported me during my time in the U.S. Marine Corps.
I’m a small-town Midwestern girl at heart who believes in the power of hard work, education, community, and carbs (if I stop by your town be sure to grab me a slice of pizza). Over the past 10 years I have worked closely with the veteran, gold star families, and special needs athletes communities. This run is for them.
Not long from now, on July 22, I’ll kick off Run Free Run in San Diego and make my way to Virginia Beach by October 28. My mission is threefold. My hope is to inspire people to get involved and introduce (more!) running as a way to engage with their communities. I want people to learn more and join the communities that I have had the honor of working with – especially the veteran and special needs communities. Finally, I want to raise awareness and donations for these communities and organizations, one of which is The Mission Continues.
The first time I really understood how powerful something like this could be for communities was last year, when I did a four day 161 mile memorial run in Southern California to honor and remember the 161 women who have died supporting combat operations since 9/11. I was blown away by how many people got involved, supported, or were inspired by the run.
From there I eventually found The Mission Continues. What appealed to me was the concept that we as a society (and veterans) need to shift the narrative from “What can our country do for our veterans?” to “What can our veterans do to continue to serve their country?”
I’m a firm believer in the role of community to breed resilience. Being part of something not only gives one a safety net to unburden themselves or to take great big risks and fail, but it also holds us accountable to one another. We make ourselves better by serving others.
The Mission Continues fills a need in the veteran community that goes unappreciated all too often. Most people don’t realize that veterans need to feel useful, just like everyone else. We need our skills and personalities not to be praised (or feared) but to be utilized.
I think we also need to be conscious and careful about veteran entitlement. To think that I did my time, and to expect to be praised and pampered for it, is not why I joined the Marines. It sounds pretty harsh, but it frustrates me when I see this sense of entitlement happen in the military community. We should not be a protected pampered class. If we were the ones willing to put our country first, who else can we rely on to do that now?
We need to continue to serve. Serving in a military uniform is not the only way to do that — there are so many needs in our country today. More than that, we need to inspire others to serve, not just in the military, but in the community too. Our society needs to start looking at building strong communities. Veterans can lead the way on that.
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.