Friday, September 7, 2012


In late July, more than 200 post-9/11 veterans, plus staff members of Mission Continues and volunteers from across the country converged upon the EdgeAlliance campus, an affordable housing complex in the 1300 block of South Sawyer in North Lawndale. They gathered for a community service project, utilizing the leadership and skills they used as members of the armed services to tackle a civilian mission.
    The Mission Continues Fellowship Program provides post-9/11 veterans the opportunity to renew their sense of purpose through community service projects. Veterans learn to translate their military experiences into civilian skills applications, while earning a modest living stipend. The typical fellowship covers 28 weeks, during which he or she serves the community through a local charitable organization.
    As part of the New Fellow Orientation for Mission Continues, veterans and volunteers worked to clear large areas of debris and overgrown weeds at the North Lawndale housing development. They also painted and beautified the grounds of EdgeAlliance.
    “By completing a large-scale service project like this, we are sending a message that our veterans are willing and able to utilize their military skills to benefit communities across America,” says Justin Jones, Service Project Director for Mission Continues.
    Participating in the EdgeAlliance service project is Chicago native Jeffery Hall, a 22-year Navy veteran who served as a Hospital Corpsman. He had multiple deployments in the Middle East and Asia. While growing up, his family was often reliant on food pantries and welfare. This fueled his decision to serve a Mission Continues Fellowship with a food bank in Lowell, Massachusetts. He says he is thrilled to be back serving his own hometown.
    Mission Continues challenges veterans to serve and lead in communities across America. The organization was founded by former U.S. SEAL Eric Greitens in 2007 when he returned from his final deployment to Iraq, driven by the deep belief that veterans are civic assets. Mission Continues offers 6-month community service fellowships to veterans, awarding over 350 fellowships to date. The organization does not offer charity; rather, it challenges returning service members to utilize their tremendous skills and leadership to continue serving our country at home.

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