As most of The Mission Continues’ veterans have served in the military post-9/11, the passing of its 18th anniversary means something special to us. Either we were inspired to protect our country and enlisted after the tragic event, or perhaps we were already enlisted and it would forever alter the course of our military careers.

No matter what relationship we had with 9/11, it undoubtedly affected our lives. To honor those lost on and after 9/11, we are compelled to take pause to focus on what really matters to us now: service to our communities.

Community service projects for veterans abound in Houston, where The Mission Continues has several thriving “service platoons” — groups of veterans dedicated to solving a particular challenge in their city.

On September 14th, all five Houston service platoons gathered in the Greater East End Management District to serve Capitol Street Pocket Park. The Greater East End Management District helps to improve the quality of life for residents by creating parks and green spaces for families to thrive. For our 9/11 United in Service event, we helped turn a vacant lot into a butterfly pocket park!

This project was seven years in the making as GEEMD did not have the manpower to complete this project. With help from our veteran and non-veteran volunteers, we were able to create and build out the first stages of the park.

Shoutout to all the volunteers who stepped up on this day to serve their community, including the volunteers from CarMax!

What continued service means to Houston veterans

“It is important for me to continue my mission of service because once you get out, you don’t want to get into that bubble where you’re not being involved and it causes isolation. I enjoy being involved and continuing my service because it brings back that camaraderie I once had while in the military.” – LaShonda Johnson, Former Platoon Leader

“Serving on 9/11 means a lot because as a survivor of 9/11 who served at the Pentagon during the attacks, it has come full circle. I helped the injured and sick at the Pentagon and now I am helping rebuild the community.” – Tony DeLeon, Platoon Member

What volunteers accomplished

  • Cleared the vacant lot of shrubbery and debris
  • Planted 8 trees
  • Installed 10 yards of soil to create butterfly planter
  • Built a walkway and installed 4 yards of soil
  • Planted over 70 butterfly-attracting low maintenance plants
  • Installed 40 bags of mulch in the creation of the butterfly garden

Photos from the day