Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

The Mission Continues

Since the release of Unwanted Heroes, I have been meeting and talking with a number of war veterans. Some of them, I am ashamed to say, I have known for a long time and vaguely was aware that they donned the uniform.

Heroes Low Res Finished Cover 11.18

It might be because of this that the issues are high on my mind. It seems that every news site, blog, radio show seems to have some mention of it. It’s like if I told you not to count how many Ford Mustangs you see today …

So there I was on a rare foray into live TV and an advert came up for The Mission Continues. I have blogged about a number of non-profits who are helping war veterans absorb back into society, but this organization is different.

“A Mission Continues Fellowship involves 20 hours of service per week for 26 weeks at a local nonprofit organization. Fellows are encouraged to choose a nonprofit organization to serve based on their own personal passions. Current and Alumni Fellows have worked at organizations addressing issues ranging from disaster preparedness to education for low-income youth to training service dogs for wounded veterans. These host organizations include Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.”

In a world of entitlement, there is something resonating in men and women who have served in the armed forces, now becoming involved in forces that are building our society. From my experience of internships and fellowships, only the best seem to apply. They may have altruistic goals – building resumes, learning key skills, using the experience to check out a particular profession – but there are more materially rewarding options.

You might think that serving in the army is enough, and maybe it is, but the recognition that this nation’s finest, still have a role to play in defining the quality of this society, is powerful.

Check them out:

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Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter.  

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