Saturday, June 29, 2013

"what we think, we become...."

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen
 One of the reasons I love having an online forum is the ability to share information about people and organizations that truly inspire. As some of you may know I was planning on participating in the Marine Corps Marathon this October in Washington DC. The choice was influenced by a personal goal, my admiration for a nonprofit called the Mission Continues and it was the impetus to engage in a physical fitness routine and stop smoking. (A swift kick in the ass so to speak). Three weeks after committing to the marathon, I quit smoking cigarettes for good after twenty years of holding on to an addiction that my family hated but most of my co workers never knew about. Currently, I'm running/walking/weightlifting/stretching five times per week and running 5k's. The choice to raise funds and awareness for Team Mission Continues was made in April. Monday will be the half way point on the timeline to Sunday, October 27th. Nearly fifty percent of my personal fundraising goal has been achieved. A sincere thank you goes out to those who have contributed. My former cigarette and snack food money goes toward my goal. All donations are applied to a philosophy of service much greater than ourselves.

 A few days ago I received an email inviting me to attend the NASDAQ opening bell ceremony in New York City as a Mission Continues team member. What? They are inviting me to be there? Are they serious? Is this a "real" invitation or am I being punked? After reading the invitation in amazement I felt a sense of honor and pride. How could my emotions and feelings possibly come close to the sense of achievement and determination the Mission Continues fellows and all those who have dedicated their lives to the Mission Continues feel?  Restoring meaning, and purpose, strengthening community and camaraderie is why the Mission Continues is so life altering for many veterans.
 On  Monday, July1st, 2013 at 9:30am The Mission Continues which is a national veterans' service organization that helps post-9/11 veterans transition from the military to leadership roles at home through community service, will visit the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square. In honor of the occasion, Gonzalo Duran, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and Mission Continues Fellow will ring the Opening Bell. Although attending is not possible, I will be watching the live webcast:
 NASDAQ Opening Bell will be available at:
Founded in 2007 by author, retired Navy SEAL and TIME 100 2013 honoree Eric Greitens, The Mission Continues has  currently assisted nearly seven hundred post-9/11 veterans use their varied skills, talents and energy to overcome challenges facing all of us right here at home in the US. Through a revolutionary model that provides for both veterans and the local community, a six-month service fellowship, veterans volunteer to help others and build new skills that create a meaningful civilian career.
The Mission Continues tagline is "It's not a charity, it's a challenge."  They are changing one life at a time and many of us are not even veterans.