Day 1 of Operation District Drilldown: In Unity, We Flourish

Jun 24, 2023

Veterans and volunteers handle planks of wood to build a raised garden bed.

Under the gray skies of Fort Dupont Park in Washington DC, the spirit of service took root and blossomed. Veterans and volunteers united for Day 1 of Operation District Drilldown and demonstrated that neither rain, bugs, heat, and humidity could disrupt their mission – to be a force for sustainable growth and impact that is built to last.

Throughout the day, veterans and volunteers from across the country and the DC metro area transformed the community garden of Fort Dupont Park. This collaborative endeavor resulted in the construction of several raised beds and benches for the plot managers, mulching the aisleways of the gardens, clearing and repairing the roads around the garden with fresh gravel. Volunteers engaged with the plot managers, who are residents of the DC Metro area. The Mission Continues veterans from across the country allied with rangers from the National Parks Service, employees from RTX and Boeing, and volunteers from Wounded Warrior Program and Team Rubicon. National Parks Rangers handed out lifetime parks passes for any park in the United States to all veterans volunteers.

The grit and spirit of the veterans and volunteers shone through the torrential rain, reminding everyone of the common bond that binds us in times of adversity. Amidst the struggles, veterans exemplified the phrase “embracing the suck,” reminding us of the power of unity and the shared mission.

The heart of Day 1 of Operation District Drilldown was the Fort Dupont Park Food Gardens and the shared plots where DC residents sow seeds of sustenance and community spirit. Originally developed as part of the Civil War Defenses of Washington and named for Flag Officer Samuel F. Dupont, the garrison and guns never saw battle. In the 1930s, a golf course was constructed and as the city grew, golf eventually gave way to the Food Garden. Where soldiers once looked out over farmlands, park visitors now grow fruits and vegetables in the community garden. Through these food gardens, locals can cultivate fresh produce, experience the rewards of sustainable farming, and partake in the fruits of their labor. The project not only benefits the environment but also strengthens the health and wellbeing of park visitors and the families of DC’s Wards 7 and 8.

As we close the day with a sense of achievement, we eagerly anticipate the opportunities that tomorrow holds. Join us as we continue Day 2 of Operation District Drilldown at Douglass Community Center. One of the oldest community centers in Ward 8, the Friends of Douglass CC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which provides programs and activities that surrounds the community with an abundance of positive attitudes and choices to help them reach their greatest potential; and has partnered with The Mission Continues since 2015.

We express profound gratitude to our event sponsors, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Tech, the Washington Commanders, the Baltimore Tool Bank, and the University of the District of Columbia, for their unwavering support and commitment to this transformative mission. Their contributions played a pivotal role in making Operation District Drilldown possible.

Washington DC is not just the nation’s capital but a city bursting with vibrant communities, opportunities for growth, and challenges that demand progress. Operation District Drilldown, from Friday, June 23-Tuesday, June 27, showcases our commitment to serving these communities. We look forward to making a difference at six locations in Washington DC’s Wards 7 & 8, including Anacostia Park, Fort DuPont Park, The Douglass Community Center, Kramer and Sousa Middle Schools, and Anacostia High School. See you there!