When veterans return home from serving their country, most experience a feeling of “what now”, and that can be a very bleak question.
“[Veterans] wake up the next day, they don’t have the uniform, they don’t have the mission, and they don’t necessarily have the purpose,” said Senior Director of Communications Keith Thomas. “They wonder where they can find that and sort of fill that bucket that oftentimes is empty.”
On the eve of The Mission Continues 15th anniversary, the organization was founded on the principles of taking veterans who recently separated from the military and are looking for that service that they no longer have since taking off the uniform. In essence, The Mission Continues to provide veterans with opportunities to serve once again but now can do it right at home.
Thomas, a United States Air Force veteran, explained that serving was something, in the military, they all got used to doing for so many years, and it didn’t matter how long they served. But the moment they got out of the military, Thomas said that the stability of serving a purpose larger than themselves was instantly gone. That was a stark realization for many veterans to no longer have a daily purpose and some fell into dark times. That’s where The Mission Continues comes in.
“What we provide, we feel, leads to positive mental health outcomes for our veterans,” Thomas said. “We provide a sense of purpose through service in the community, we provide veterans with this connectedness with their fellow veterans that have been missing since they got out, and we provide personal and professional development programs, and opportunities for growth.”
This new form of service that’s being provided to veterans includes supporting communities that are under-resourced, and according to Thomas, it’s a win-win for everyone. By supplying support in communities that oftentimes don’t have the means to support themselves, veterans can rediscover their sense of purpose that has been missing since they got out of the service. And not only does The Mission Continue allow veterans to continue to serve and support communities in more than 40 cities in the country, but it also provides connectedness with other like-minded veterans and volunteers who have the same common goal.
“We’re open to all community members joining,” Thomas said. “It’s not just a veteran opportunity but a veteran-led initiative. Veterans have the unique skill set of leadership determination and the ‘go get ‘em’ attitude that we need to accomplish some of these projects. So those are the kinds of things that we support across the country.”
On top of the work the organization does within the communities across the U.S., The Mission Continues is also involved with connecting veterans to sports and has partnered with sporting teams like the Houston Dash in the past. For more information and how you can get involved, visit missioncontinues.org.
Photo credit: The Mission Continues’ Instagram