Military Spouse Magazine

OCT 2018

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W H A T W E L O V E Dual military, check! Stay- at-home spouse, check! Wife of a wounded warrior, check! I guess checking just one block wasn't enough for me? I joke, but the truth is, the perspective and experiences I have been blessed to encounter are worth every ounce of struggle and hardship we have faced along the way. Each of these boxes that I have checked off in my life brought with it a constant state of change, and a level of uncertainty terrifying to most. I've had to rediscover who I am with every stage, and find purpose to fulfill me in the hardest times. My late husband and I strived to build a life of meaning despite what was thrown our way. Something that remained important to us throughout that journey has been giving back to our community. My love for community service truly began in 2012 when I first found The Mission Continues, a nonprofit that empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact. At the time, I was blogging in an effort to connect spouses to resources that would support their transition out of the military and into a new community. I learned that The Mission Continues awarded six-month fellowships to post-9/11 veterans. The fellowship challenged vet- erans to spend 20 hours a week volunteering at a nonprofit of their choosing as a means of helping us transition back into our own communities, explore the nonprofit world, and develop new skills. I was sure this was the perfect program for one of the warriors we were close to, but he was sure that this was the perfect program for me. I hadn't really thought about it before, but I had fallen so far into the role of being "Nate's wife" and a caregiver that I rarely acknowl- edged my own veteran status. Her Mission Continues I wanted a way to continue to serve, but I ended up getting so much more than I could have imagined. By Kristle Helmuth, Army Veteran and Army Spouse My fellowship ignited a passion in not just me, but my family as well. It helped us reconnect with each other in a new and differ- ent way. We connected with other military families and community members, all while making a dif- ference in the lives of others. It would come as no surprise that when The Mission Continues launched their service platoon program, I would agree to lead one, right here in my community. A service platoon brings together veteran and non-veteran volun- teers to solve a specific challenge in their community. 10 MILITARYSPOUSE.COM / OCTOBER 2018

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