August 23, 2016
By Peggy Schnack, Fellow

7CF7374A-761E-4DDA-84DB-7FBC8A6E98A4Peggy (right) arrives at the Charlie Class 2016 Orientation service project on July 23, 2016 in Minneapolis.

Peggy Schnack is an Air Force veteran, a 2016 Charlie Class Fellow serving with Habitat for Humanity, and will run the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) with Team Mission Continues on October 30, 2016.

As I sit here watching the Olympic Games, contemplating what The Mission Continues means to me, I realize that like the Olympics, Mission Continues brings diverse people together to achieve things that they may not have thought possible.

A year ago I did not know what I was doing or where I was headed.  I had graduated from seminary, but depression quickly took over my life.  I did not identify with being a veteran or much of anything else.  Part of my healing has come from rediscovering and reconnecting with who I am.  

While I floundered I sought connection and community, but did not know where to find it.  I needed somewhere that it was okay to be broken; where people would not pressure me to be anything I was not feeling up to at the moment but would be there for me when I needed support.  

I found that connection within veteran based groups.  Team RWB was my “gateway” group; it introduced me to The Mission Continues and Team Rubicon.  Yes, I am a part of all three, and they have all played a part in my becoming who I am today.  The Mission Continues is playing a huge part in helping me to move forward with my life.  

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As a fellow, it is giving me the opportunity to move back into the workforce on a part-time basis with a fantastic support and mentorship system.  Serving at Habitat for Humanity is helping me to remember that I can learn new skills.  I can visually see the progress of my efforts and have opportunities to get to know and lead diverse groups of people every time I am there.

As a member of Team Mission Continues, I am reclaiming my identity as a runner and marathoner.  After my first marathon I said I would never do another one unless it was the Marine Corps or something similar.  Having a caveat to a “never” statement is dangerous, because as I found out, that “unless” can happen. In this case, I think the danger is a good thing.  

Training for the MCM is giving me a physically and mentally demanding goal to strive for, which helps me to lace up my shoes even on days when I would rather stay home. My depression, being a fellow, and preparing for the MCM are all intertwined.  The confidence I am gaining as a fellow is helping me have the mental strength to run.  Gaining physical strength by running is helping me to do my job better and giving me more confidence in my abilities.  When depression rears its ugly head, I am can use the strength and confidence I am gaining through my work and my running to overcome it.

So what does The Mission Continues mean to me?  It means a new lease on life.  It means becoming active again.  It means claiming my identity as a veteran.  It means discovering who I am.

Read more of my story on my Team Mission Continues fundraising page!

P.S. It’s not too late to join Team Mission Continues at the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon either. For more information, contact Ali McClung, The Mission Continues’ Development Associate, at amclung@missioncontinues.org.

 

Report for duty in your community with The Mission Continues. Serve with a Service Platoon at an upcoming service event near you or apply for a fellowship. You can learn more about our programs on our website and stay updated on the latest news and announcements on Facebook and twitter.