We all get thrown curve balls, ours came in the form of an IED explosion. We learned to adapt, we compensate for our shortcomings, and make the most of it. Life is all about learning to compensate, if you have to forget something, forget the dog, not the baby.
The Story of a True American Hero, His Princess, and Their Struggle with TBI/PTSD.
And, i'm off! I know you are all wondering what on earth is going on in Chicago. I'll tell you. I have been selected for a Mission Continues Fellowship!! What on earth is that you ask? Well here is some information about the program from themissioncontinues.org.
About the Fellowship
Who is a Mission Continues Fellow?
A Mission Continues Fellow is a post-9/11 veteran who has accepted the challenge to continue their service to our country by serving their community. Read about our current Fellows here.
What is a Mission Continues Fellowship?
Fellowships are 26 weeks in length and require 520 hours of service (an average of 20 hours a week), during which the Fellow works at a nonprofit organization in their community. Fellows work on issues ranging from education to the environment and from disaster preparedness to homelessness. Each fellowship is unique. Fellows are encouraged to choose a fellowship location based on their personal passions.
Why should I become a Mission Continues Fellow?
Every Mission Continues Fellow applies to the program for unique reasons. Some were looking for the sense of purpose that was so present in their military service, but has been missing since they returned home. Others were looking to find a way to apply the skills and leadership acquired in the military to address an issue in their community. Still others saw the program as a stepping stone to begin down a road to achieve future goals. Regardless of the motivation, most Fellows find that their fellowship reminds them of their strengths and skills and helps ensure a successful transition to civilian life. Furthermore, they have found that the Fellowship Program has become a family -- like-minded veterans who are returning home, eager to serve again.
Through the Fellowship Program, we also honor the fallen through service. The Mission Continues is proud to partner withThe Travis Manion Foundation to challenge every Mission Continues Fellow to serve their fellowship in honor of a fallen service member. Fellows are given the opportunity to choose a fallen service member that they knew personally, or they can opt to be paired with a family identified by The Travis Manion Foundation. The organizations have been intrinsically linked since Travis Manion and Eric Greitens served together in the Iraq, where Travis was killed in 2007. When Eric returned, inspired by Travis’ life of service and sacrifice, he was
eager to partner with the Manion Family to honor
the fallen by challenging the living.
What are the benefits of a Mission Continues Fellowship?
Beyond the work Fellows do in their own community, Fellows are connected with other Fellows throughout the country to attend Mission Continues trainings, plan service projects together, speak about their experiences and connect to leadership opportunities. Throughout the Fellowship, The Mission Continues makes every effort to connect Fellows with the right resources to achieve their goals - in the workforce, furthering their education, or in an ongoing role of service. The Mission Continues Fellowship includes a cost-of-living stipend.
In the Fellows' own words:
"Even though we may have been through stressful and traumatic experiences that the general population may never know or understand, we are not that much different. We are still here and want to continue making a difference in or out of the uniform, and veterans are some of the smartest, toughest, most caring, hardest working people the country has to offer.
"The biggest goal I have is to prove this to my country and community. I want to continue my service in the form of the 'Citizen Leader.' I want to continue helping people and taking care of those that are less fortunate."
Casey McCausland, St. Louis, Missouri
"During my fellowship I have completed more than 70 programs and taught over 3000 students in a classroom setting. I developed and implemented a new interactive exhibit on Invasive Species that saw over 25,000 members of the public during our Open House and Expo events. While the numbers are good, the Fellowship has been so much more than that. My initial goal was to teach underserved populations. In my Fellowship I have taught children who are victims of human trafficking, children in shelters waiting for foster care, terminally ill children and kids in group homes...The children I have worked with have changed my life and my view of it."
Melissa Steinman, Phoenix, Arizona
"As a combat wounded veteran from Operation Enduring Freedom, I have been the recipient of much good will and even charity. But this is not what drew me to The Mission Continues. I was, instead, drawn by the opportunity provided by The Mission Continues to give back to my community and to my fellow wounded veterans."