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.

Share this story

Published on Jul. 17, 2012

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 78

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!

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • During Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September, the American Red Cross emphasizes the importance of a diverse blood supply to help meet the needs of those with sickle cell disease – the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S.

  • CaringBridge, a free online tool to communicate health news to family and friends, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

  • Shahpur Pazhman flew Black Hawk missions in 27 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, resupplying and relocating Afghan ground forces and evacuating casualties to safety. Thanks to Bridge My Return, he's back in the air.