We need your leadership now
Apr 2, 2020
The Mission Continues remains focused on driving impact while adjusting to the realities of physical distancing during COVID-19. As leaders, veterans are accustomed to action—we charge towards challenges and jump in to provide solutions, capacity and expertise. The Mission Continues family likes our big, gritty service projects and cherishes the connections we make while working alongside each other and community members. It makes sense to us and it’s what we love. That is not possible right now, but service IS.
You might feel powerless right now—after all, you are all leaders with tremendous potential and energy to serve. You might feel like you’re sitting out the battle by staying home and practicing social distancing. While on active duty, we used less than charitable names for those who stayed home while others deployed, without regard to the incredible value that they provided on the homefront. Most of us, now, are in a position to better appreciate what it feels like to be unable to join the team on the front lines of this fight, and I can plainly see the stress that is causing in our veteran community.
It’s time to reframe. For most of us, the most important display of leadership that we can offer is to stay home. It’s through this simple act that we will do the most good, and if ever we were in a position to lead others to the same conclusion, the time is now while lives are at stake.
Right now, our frontline leaders are the first-responders, healthcare professionals, grocery store clerks, educators and food distribution workers that are working every day to contain a deadly virus while ensuring our most vulnerable communities are not left behind.
With gratitude for those on the frontlines, we trust that there are better days ahead, and we commit to doing our part so that you can succeed. Here are some of the ways you can be a leader now:
- Take care of you, your loved ones and each other. Stay home as much as you can. Veterans are among the most trusted groups in society—lead by example for others in your community. Practice radical self-care so that you will be sharp, focused, and healthy when you are once again called to serve on the front lines. I promise that you are not alone in feeling stressed, confused and at times—even discouraged. We all know veterans can be reluctant to ask for help. Ask your network what they need, and ask for help if you need it.
- Participate in a virtual service project. The under-resourced communities where we work are disproportionately impacted by healthcare shortages and economic downturns. They need our help now and will need it in the future. Our Service Platoons are fostering seedlings to plant in community gardens, ensuring that all communities have access to fresh, safe and healthy food. We’re also encouraging solo treks to clean up parks, trails and communities across the county. Connect with a local platoon to learn more about how you can help.
- Seek opportunities to support essential services. If you’re healthy and low-risk, many food banks, pantries and food distribution services, as well as blood banks are considered mission critical (and therefore exempt from stay at home orders) and in need of individuals to donate and serve as volunteers. You can also visit Points of Light to learn more about virtual volunteerism.
- Thank a healthcare provider, a teacher, a grocery store clerk, and your local food bank. Veterans are used to being thanked for our service, but this is not our fight. Say thank you, and continue to say thank you long after this crisis has passed. Say thank you with your words, and say thank you with your actions. Keep them safe by staying home.
Our ability to navigate this situation with flexibility, grace and agility will be one of the most important contributions we will ever make to our country. There will be protracted challenges and much work to do as we emerge from this crisis. This is the moment for us to commit to new ways to serve those communities most in need, so that when we’re through the worst of it we come back with resolve and focus to ensure that our critical mission continues.
We are grateful for all the support you’ve shown us and we are committed to be a part of the recovery for our communities when the time is right. A donation now allows us to prepare, equip and empower our team to “hit the ground running” in serving communities and populations who have been most impacted by these events.
We are closely following guidelines of medical and public health officials. If you are looking for up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit CDC.gov, NIH.gov or your local county or city health department.