The transition from military life to civilian life can be a challenging journey for many veterans. However, an increasing number of veterans are not just adapting to civilian life but are actively making a difference in their communities. From launching nonprofit organizations to advocating for veterans’ rights, these remarkable individuals use their skills, experiences, and values acquired during service to create positive change. Here, we celebrate the stories of veterans who have found new missions as community leaders.
Team Rubicon, a disaster response organization founded by Jake Wood, a Marine Corps veteran, and William McNulty, a Marine Corps veteran, has significantly impacted disaster-stricken areas worldwide. Their organization mobilizes veterans and first responders to provide disaster relief and humanitarian aid during emergencies, leveraging the skills and leadership qualities honed in the military.
Wounded Warrior Project:
John Melia, a former Army captain, established the Wounded Warrior Project after his own experiences as a wounded veteran. The organization provides support, services, and programs for injured veterans and their families, helping them reintegrate into civilian life.
The Mission Continues:
Eric Greitens, a Navy SEAL veteran, established The Mission Continues to empower veterans to continue serving in their communities. The organization provides fellowships, service projects, and leadership training to veterans, enabling them to make a positive impact in their neighborhoods.
Got Your 6:
Got Your 6, a campaign led by Chris Marvin, a former Army officer, focuses on bridging the civilian-military divide by encouraging Americans to support and engage with veterans. The campaign challenges negative stereotypes and promotes positive representations of veterans in the media.
Brig. Gen. (ret.) John I. Pray Jr. is the President and CEO of Operation Homefront, which assists military families in need. Operation Homefront supports military families in various ways, including housing, financial assistance, and essential services.
Pat Tillman Foundation:
The Pat Tillman Foundation, named after the former NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman, empowers veterans and their spouses through education. The foundation offers academic scholarships to support their pursuit of higher education and career development.
Countless veterans have turned their military experiences into successful businesses. These enterprises create jobs, stimulate local economies, and offer opportunities for fellow veterans. Examples include Sword & Plough, founded by Emily Núñez Cavness, which repurposes military surplus materials into fashionable bags and accessories, and Nine Line Apparel, started by CPT (ret.) Tyler Merritt offers patriotic and military-themed apparel.
The transition from military service to community leadership is a testament to the dedication and resilience of veterans. Their ability to apply their military training, leadership skills, and unwavering commitment to their new missions in the civilian world showcases the remarkable impact veterans can have on society. These individuals exemplify the spirit of service and continue to inspire others, both within and outside the military community, to make a difference and create a better future for all.