I enlisted in the United States Navy in 2001, but I was in the delayed entry program until I graduated from high school. I went to boot camp in the summer of 2002. I was stationed in San Diego, CA and did one deployment with the USS Anchorage LSD-36.

Shortly after I arrived, we were preparing to go to the Persian Gulf as part of Amphibious Task Force-West, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). During that six-month deployment, USS Anchorage disembarked Marines and supplies from Landing Force West during the opening stages of OIF.

Later, the ship provided logistic support to U.S. forces stationed on captured offshore gas and oil platforms near the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. After coming back from the deployment, my ship was decommissioned. I received an injury to my knee preparing for the physical fitness test. I had two knee surgeries and was medically discharged in 2005 as a Machinist Mate Third Class. After being medically discharged, I moved back to Illinois. My struggle began in 2006 when I was so depressed, I actually considered suicide.  I knew I needed help, so a friend helped me check myself into the VA Hospital, where I was diagnosed with PTSD.

Upon my recovery, I decided to obtain an education at Western Illinois University for a Bachelor’s in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration with a minor in Forensic Psychology. This was the toughest school year for me because my mother passed away after quadruple bypass surgery.

Despite the tragedy, I continued my education and am currently going back to school at Waubonsee Community College for Therapeutic Massage. I found The Mission Continues from Student Veterans of America website. I was fascinated after checking the website. I love helping people, so I decided to apply. My host organization is the Student Veterans of America as the Illinois Outreach Coordinator.

My service provides good to the community because Veteran Clubs in a college or university setting helps out the community by doing projects such as cleaning up a park or helping Veterans in need. It also helps Veterans in school with a peer, social, and education connection with other Veterans from their school and other schools in the area. Being in a group you have that camaraderie and everyone is trying to achieve the same goal: getting an education. In the future, I plan to start my own nonprofit organization called Vets for Teens, which will focus on Veterans mentoring at-risk youth.

Matthew Wolding served 2 years and 11 months in the United States Navy. He is currently serving a Mission Continues Fellowship with the Student Veterans of America.

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5 Comments

  1. retteL June 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Matthew, I am getting my master’s in education with a concentration of online teaching and should be finished with this December. I am a veteran advocate, retiree and female. Where can I go to get more informaton about your organization? Is there a need for my service. I know a lot of veteran service organization at traditional schools, but what about distance learning programs. A lot of veterans are opting to go to class at home vs the traditional way. How do your service aid these veterans? I am a qualified executive coach and would love to render my skills. my email is rette007@gmail.com
    It is good to see you giving something back. Good luck means God Bless!

  2. Michele June 11, 2012 at 7:26 am

    I really enjoy reading about all of the many different stories that are shared on this VA blog – and yours certainly reared my attention. The Mission Continues is one of the many few organizations, and they do wonderful great many things – right in your own home state. You should come down in late August and join us for one of their Missions. I am volunteering for them (yes… I’m from southwestern IL) and would really love for you to come join us. You’re on the right track, and you too, can make a huge difference.

    • Matthew Wolding June 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Email me at mnw2184@yahoo.com. I would love to come down in August. It all depends what day because I do start school in late August.

  3. retvet92 June 1, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I am impressed with your blog. You address several issue I am sure will or affects many of todays Vets. Main message don’t give up and apply one self to at least help others. Our generation the Vietnam Era / V -Vet , gave into the pressure of the times. Those that survived probably did it thru their own inner strength or failed refusing assistance. Others ask and either ignored or labled. Several became recluses of Society. I chose to return to military but always felt I had the mark which felt more like a blemish. The more I did the more was accomplished, but certain issue were ignored – PTSD, Suicide, TBI and unemployed/homelessness. Veterans need to stand together old and young, rich and poor, political / non-political. Team effort. I feel your blog demonstrates this, thanks for sharing.

    • Matthew Wolding June 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      Thank You so much. That means a lot to me that you like my blog post. That is exactly what I am going for is never giving up and helping others.

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