Every time I get asked how I found The Mission Continues, I am not sure how to answer. I call it divine intervention while others say it was luck.  One day, I was online searching, “resources for Veterans,” and I kept seeing the Mission Continues Fellowship Program pop-up. I took a look at the website and for some reason felt I was not qualified. Despite my hesitancy, I decided to apply. I can hardly explain the sheer joy I felt when I was awarded a fellowship. For the first time in a while, I felt validated and proud.

I had to come a long way in my battle against PTSD before I found The Mission Continues.  I had been home from Afghanistan since late 2003 and spent the following three years self-mutilating, suicidal, homeless, jobless, and abusing drugs. I am happy to say that those dark days are behind me now, but it has taken more perseverance and commitment than I can even put into words. I still struggle and always will.  It took me turning into someone I could hardly recognize to rediscover myself again.

Since coming to terms with my inner demons, I have not only been in therapy but also had physical conditions rectified. I have had two hip surgeries and am having my first of two foot surgeries this August. When I approached The Mission Continues, I wanted to do my fellowship at my local Veterans Affairs Medical Center. I volunteered twenty hours a week for six months in the physical therapy department. To work one-on-one with other veterans is a priority for me. Also, being in a department that I had been a patient in really helped me to see how much I still had to offer. Some days I would help geriatric patients with their routines and others were spent having long, intimate talks with vets about their war experiences. As soon as the patients found out I was a Veteran too, they all wanted to talk my ear off! Sometimes we laughed and sometimes we cried, but no matter what, we had a camaraderie that was unmatched. Through my fellowship, I found a purpose for my life in the outside world and realized that even off the battlefield, the mission really does continue.

Jennifer Crane served 4 years in the United States Army. She is currently serving a Mission Continues Fellowship at the Coatesville VA Medical Center in Coatesville, PA.

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7 Comments

  1. christine johnston-klauschie July 29, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Thank you for your sacrifices and continued service.

  2. David July 28, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    May God Bless you for your service in the army and as a veteran at the mission for which you serve. Thanks for helping or veterans.

  3. William Eldrich July 28, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I so appreciate your desire to serve. It is so obvious that you are one of America’s treasures. You are there because you care. Not just to collect a check.
    Thank you so much. We need more like you to prop us up when times are tough.

  4. Kelli Deleon July 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    The story of your “Dark Days” is my reality right now. Im glad you found a way to quiet your demons. Proud of you girl.

  5. BlackHat Spot SEO (@BlackHatSpot) July 19, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Its great to see you have overcome such a traumatic experience to move on with life. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  6. David Daugherty July 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Jennifer, thank you for staying in the fight- David, TMC Fellowship Alum

  7. Lisa Pietsch July 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Thank you so much for your service then and now. Our inner strength is magnified when we share it with each other. Bless you!

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