The Mission Continues, a St. Louis-based organization, has mobilized more than 250 veterans to areas of Texas and Florida that have been devastated by recent hurricanes. The men and women have traded in their camouflage and combat boots for things like hammers and chainsaws. They have helped people who have, in some cases, lost everything.
The Mission Continues was founded in 2007 by Republican Governor Eric Greitens, a Navy SEAL, to help veterans adjust to everyday life when they return home from a deployment. It empowers veterans to redeploy their talents in the community.
In response to Hurricane Harvey, five service platoons in Houston have assisted and lead recovery projects in five communities. Project tasks have included cleanup and landscape repair, building a storage shed, restoring an outdoor basketball pavilion and collecting items through a donation drive for storm-affected community members.
In response to Hurricane Irma, service platoons in Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando have assisted in recovery efforts. The Miami Service Platoon volunteers responded in the following way:
• 30 homes were prepared with hurricane shutters and plywood. The homes of the elderly and disabled were prioritized, including the homes of WWII and Vietnam veterans.
• Over $20,000 of tree cutting and debris removal was provided at no charge by members across Miami Dade County. This included assisting various nonprofit agencies who work with disadvantaged youth and special needs students.
• 200 pounds of ice was distributed to a migrant farm worker community in Homestead, FL.
In Tampa, the Service Platoon mobilized on Monday to stuff more than 250 backpacks with kid essentials to bring to shelters.
In Orlando, platoon members volunteered at Crossroads Corral, an equestrian therapy center and long-time platoon project site, to assist with clean up.
In Jacksonville, platoon members have assisted with cleanup efforts in the hard-hit Middleburg community.
The organization’s Nick Zevely tells Missourinet the platoons in these cities remain committed to response and recovery efforts in their home communities.