After my military service, I chose to drink. I chose to drink because it was easy, because it was fun, because I knew it and felt comfortable with it. I chose to sit in my apartment and play Call of Duty, and continue to live the lifestyle I had learned in the Infantry, because I perceived it to be safe and comfortable. No NCO was banging on my door at 0400 to “Get your kit on!” because “TCP 3 just got hit with a VBIED!” I didn’t have to fight the war anymore, and so I was finished. I was finished with my duty, and now I get to have fun, and do what I want to do. That lifestyle didn’t stay fun for long, because it provided me no sense of purpose. In fact, after less than two years of that lifestyle, I gave it up. I got sober, and I took renewed interest in my college education by changing my major to study something I actually wanted to use to improve society. I relied on the love of my family to support me as I took steps to confront my personal issues with PTSD and depression.
When I found out about The Mission Continues, I quickly realized that they had the best answer to my question: “What are we doing to empower this generation of veterans to reintegrate themselves in society, after their military service?” The answer? “We are going to challenge you, because we still need you.” Very quickly after I received my college degree, I applied for a Fellowship with the organization. Instead of serving in that fashion, however, I received an email encouraging me to apply for a position at The Mission Continues, working with Fellows. I jumped at the opportunity to apply, and very quickly found myself in an organization whose sole mission was service.
Service is everywhere, here. Words like altruism, challenge, and community are all over the walls, in the mouths of our Fellows and staff, and, most noticeably, ingrained in everything we do. After I attended the first team meeting, I realized that I had finally reached an organization that was right for me: an organization whose ethical values transcend personal beliefs. Everyone, including our network of highly motivated Fellows, can devote their lives to serving the community.
Micah Goulet served for six years as an infantryman in the United States Army. He now works as a Fellowship Program Associate for The Mission Continues.