Years After Fellowship, Veteran Recalls Renewed Purpose
Once told by doctors she’d never
One serendipitous day at church, Howard Kympton met a veteran named Meeka McWilliams. After some chatting, they discovered they had something in common: The Mission Continues!
It turned out that Howard was the father of the president of The Mission Continues (Spencer Kympton), while Meeka had participated in its Fellowship Program in 2017. After hearing all that Meeka overcame as a veteran, Howard concluded that her story was “nothing short of remarkable.” He told us, “She’s an amazing young woman with a marvelous experience to share.” Today we share with you Meeka’s fellowship story, as told by her.
I was introduced to The Mission Continues through an email from Wounded Warrior Project, and after speaking with a friend who was doing a fellowship with them I applied for a fellowship too. I participated in the six-month fellowship and volunteered with a female veterans organization in Louisville, KY.
Prior to The Mission Continues, I was medically retired from the military (Army) and told that, due to my condition, I would never be able to work a job or deal with the stress that comes along with reporting to work on a regular basis. For 3 years I accepted that and stayed in my house, only leaving to shop for groceries and attend medical related appointments.
After reading about The Mission Continues and listening to other veterans, I began to believe that I was capable of service in my community. During my fellowship, I was able to create and participate in various service projects and events to enrich the community.
My host organization was Athena’s Sisters, the only female veterans organization in Kentucky where women can come do art, write their stories, receive counseling, get supplies for their house, or just relax in the space and know that they are in a safe judgment-free zone.
This fellowship gave me a sense of purpose and a reason to leave my house every morning. I looked forward to going to the office and helping others who may be the same way I was when I got out of the military.
Because of The Mission Continues, this fellowship, and Athena’s Sisters, I have been able to impact 32 veteran women and get them involved in services available to them.
I went above the required amount of hours with my host organization, and after the fellowship I continued to volunteer with them on a daily basis, reaching as many veteran women as possible to let them know they are not alone and invite them to participate in the services Athena’s Sisters has to offer for them to share their stories.
I am honored to have been a part of The Mission Continues and thankful that they looked beyond my perceived limitations, and allowed me to participate in a fellowship. My life has forever changed because of it, and I have not stopped reporting for duty in my community.
Meeka-Lizzene McWilliams,Bravo 2017 Fellow