We hosted our third annual Commitment to Service Breakfast in New York City at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, with approximately 80 people in attendance. Our president, Mary Beth Bruggeman, kicked off the breakfast with an inspiring speech. This year, we had the honor to welcome Lee Woodruff, co-author of the bestselling book, In an Instant, and co-founder of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, as our keynote speaker. We are excited to have the Bob Woodruff Foundation as a partner and to share highlights from Lee’s remarks along with an abbreviated version of Mary Beth’s remarks:

I served for eight years in the Marine Corps. I am one of those Marines who very much believed that my purpose was woven right into my uniform. Eight years later, I transitioned off of active duty and took my uniform off for the last time. It felt to me that I was also taking my purpose off for the last time.

I know I shared that sentiment with so many other veterans out there, who spend time when they leave the service searching again for that purpose and a direction for the energy that they had when they were in the military.

That’s what I did. I volunteered a lot. I looked for outlets and I looked for ways to have an impact in my community. All this while, I searched and searched for a place to channel this energy that I had to continue to make an impact. And I didn’t stop until I found The Mission Continues.

“We have proudly watched The Mission Continues expand their pilot on helping vets readjust to life. It is about finding a new mission, as Mary Beth said, and achieving meaningful goals in building a healthy support network. This work is what we are all about.”Lee Woodruff

When I found The Mission Continues, I realized that we are here in a country that has frontlines in all of our cities. That was a place where I could take my energy and point it in the direction to make the greatest impact right here at home. I’ve been doing that ever since I joined.

Now, I’m surrounded by thousands of veterans and community members every day who share this vision. All of us made a decision to serve in communities and continue to make an impact post-service.

The Mission Continues is an organization that is working to provide veterans with the skills, tools, and really practical experience that they need in order to do work and excel in under-resourced communities.

We’re empowering communities with the leadership and experience that veterans bring. When all these factors are combined together, we can have an impact on a personal human connected level in communities across this country, at a time when our country needs it the most.

“Veterans have an incredible purpose even after serving our country and the military. Every veteran I’ve ever met, number one: never wants to see themselves called a hero, and number two: always asks what more can they do. Their commitment to service and helping others, especially in under-resourced communities, is not just inspiring, it’s impactful. It gets things done.”Lee Woodruff

Over the next three years, we will invest in more than one thousand veteran leaders across the country. We will activate more than seventy thousand veterans and community members in 56 cities and more across the country. We will influence millions through advocacy and directing policy change towards systemic change in our country, lifting up the veterans who served with us and on whose behalf we serve, to ensure that our communities are heard.

We look to these next three years and looking toward 2021, a year that is truly a landmark year in our country, that will mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11.

We truly believe that if we continue to bridge these gaps in communities and form connections on a human, personal level in every community in this country that needs us, this is a way to heal. It’s a way forward, and it’s one that excites us very very much.