My flight landed at 6pm on a Thursday night. I was coming from a very cool New York City climate to a very humid, tropical Puerto Rico. Luckily, a lot of people in Puerto Rico speak English so it wasn’t too much of a challenge to get around at the airport.
My first observation of the island was how dark it was particularly on the highway. Not too many of the streetlights were operational; one of the many effects the island was experiencing in the wake of the Hurricane.
Though the hurricane affected the streetlights; it did not have much of an impact on the food. I was able to grab some of the best tacos I’ve ever had from a local food truck in Carolina, a San Juan neighborhood. A medley of spices and flavors unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
My reason for visiting the island was to assist the Puerto Rico Service Platoon with a service project they were planning in remembrance of Hurricane Maria. Hurricane Maria is the 10th most intense Hurricane to occur on record. The project would support folks that were affected by the hurricane a year prior in a little town called Humacao.
On Saturday, April 28, veterans from The Mission Continues Puerto Rico Service Platoon partnered with Panamericano Hospital for an impactful day of service they dubbed Stars of Hope.
Since Hurricane Maria struck the island, veterans and community members from The Mission Continues Service Platoons in Puerto Rico, Miami and Orlando have been working hard to provide support and service to the individuals, families and communities impacted by the hurricane’s devastation. Continue reading “Veterans Create Stars of Hope in Puerto Rico”
Latonya Wilson is a veteran and a breast cancer survivor. She earned a Mission Continues Fellowship in 2017, where her dedication to service shone brightly. Here is her story, and why she is exemplary of the values of our dear friend Mark Weber and the Mark Weber Award.
Latonya enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17 and served for nearly 13 years, with deployments to Korea and Afghanistan under her belt. After separating from the military, she served overseas as a government contractor for nearly eight years.
During this time, she was diagnosed with breast cancer twice and underwent numerous surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.
By 2016, Latonya was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Many people might have given up at this point and been resigned to living out their days in search of relative comfort and peace.
But not Latyona. Inspired by the values she developed in the Army, Latonya dedicated her life to service again. She volunteered with The American Cancer Society, visiting VA Cancer Treatment Facilities to inspire and encourage female cancer patients, fed the homeless at shelters, and assisted a senior housing facilities with daily activities. Continue reading “Meet Latonya Wilson, Mark Weber Award Recipient”
There were countless words of wisdom and proactive discussions during our first annual Service Platoon Summit, but one sentence really wrapped it up:
“We’re proud to be stewards of our communities.”
That was Phoenix Service Platoon Leader Rachel Gutierrez speaking about the role and responsibility of service platoon leaders at The Mission Continues. Nearly 50 platoon and squad leaders represented all 30 service platoons in Boston for a weekend of leadership growth, best practice development and lessons learned from the first year of the program.
Gen. Dana Born addresses #ServiceSummit attendees.
Our veteran leaders came away with vital tools given by great leaders, including retired Air Force General Dana Born, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The renowned school hosted our discussion panels capped with tour on campus.
Washington, D.C. Service Platoon Leaders after at #ServiceSummit.
It’s Veterans Day today, when parades and concerts will end. But the platoon and squad leaders captured a sense of leadership, purpose, and camaraderie in Boston that they’ll take back to their communities across the country. We look forward to seeing their platoons grow.