The Leader to Leader Institute will feature guest blog postings from leaders in the public, private and social sectors on an ongoing basis. The first to share their leadership thoughts and insights is Daniel Connell; a Veterans Outreach Coordinator for
The Mission Continues, an organization that unites veterans and their fellow citizens in shared service to our nation. Through
The Mission Continues Fellowship program and Service Projects, the organization accomplishes its mission of service to our nation. To read the inspiring stories of
The Mission Continues Fellows, visit www.citizenleadership.org/fellows_current.html
Ask any member of today's American Armed Forces and they will tell you that certain descriptions fit more aptly than others. One often hears terms such as "hero" or "warrior" in connection with today's Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, but a great many men and women do not find these terms entirely comfortable. Most are quick to shift the praise to the others with whom they have served or to humbly proclaim that they are honored to simply perform their duties. This is not to say the term hero is unjustified, but rather to suggest that further investigation into their motivations and ideals is warranted.
Duty, mission, and service are all at the heart of the military mindset and serve as focal points in training across the Armed Forces. These concepts epitomize the spirit of our service members today. These ideals are the motivators that drive young men and women to push their limits of endurance and risk their lives in service to the country. However, it should not be a surprise to discover that for most military members, these values existed well before they ever put on a uniform. Their desire to make the world a better place is often a major factor in their decision to serve our country.
There are deep-seeded values driving these selfless men and women. It is this ember burning within all of our citizens that has moved America forward throughout history. Our country and communities are strengthened by those with a passion to serve. Yet, we must not forget that this passion does not cease when the uniform of a service member is hung up for the last time. Especially for those wounded in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, their desire to serve continues.
Capturing this spirit is one of the central themes of The Mission Continues
Fellowship Program. This program encourages veterans who, even after they have sacrificed tremendously, still feel a call to continued service. By awarding Fellowships for volunteer service, The Mission Continues
enables wounded and disabled veterans to engage in service in their community at an organization of their choosing. These men and women serve as examples of American values—civic-minded leaders seeking to improve their communities through their own hard work.
I genuinely believe in this mission. Actively seeking to improve our community is the only way we can achieve the America we need—the America where all members of society feel compelled to improve the community around them. Through these small but steady gains, we can achieve anything.
Veterans Outreach Coordinator, Washington DCThe Mission Continues