“I think about tikkun olam—about the call to repair the world—and about how we can use our limited time to be of service. If we work in the spirit of gemilut hasadim and focus each day on affecting individual lives, then step by step and example by example, a greater and broader change emerges.”
Challenging post-9/11 veterans to build productive lives of service at home, The Mission Continues strengthens and empowers them, their families and their communities, and it creates a universal model to reintegrate service members back into civilian life.
The Mission Continues empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home working with them to find purpose through community impact. The organization deploys veterans on new missions in their communities so that their actions will inspire future generations to serve.
The volunteer service programs offered — fellowships, service platoons, and mass deployments — are vehicles of reciprocal benefit to veterans and communities. Veterans are able to pursue a healthy and successful reintegration to civilian life while the communities in which they live benefit from their skills and leadership.
Over the past eleven years, The Mission Continues has awarded 1,869 fellowships to post-9/11 veterans serving over 13,000 communities around the country, creating a network for more than 11,000 veterans. Over 84% of Mission Continues Fellows are employed full-time, enrolled in higher education or retired after completing their six-month service commitment. In 2016, veterans volunteered over 215,000 service hours with the organization, through fellowships and at more than 640 service projects.
Eric Greitens is the Founder of The Mission Continues, a St. Louis-based non-profit working nationally to reintegrate post-9/11 veterans into civilian life by challenging them to serve and lead at home.
As a humanitarian and military veteran, Greitens envisioned a new paradigm for veterans returning from deployment—one that taps into their sense of duty and empowers them to build lives of purpose through community service and leadership.
As The Mission Continues Fellows, veterans become citizen leaders, working in local non-profits, and leading projects that involve hundreds of community volunteers. By doing so, they bring their passion for service to the home front, strengthening their communities and finding direction for their own lives while inspiring others.
A native of Missouri, Greitens earned an Angier B. Duke Scholarship to attend Duke University, where he studied ethics, philosophy, and public policy. He attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes and a Truman Scholar, earning a master’s in 1998 and a Ph.D. in 2000. His doctoral thesis, “Children First”, investigated how international humanitarian organizations can best serve children affected by war. He has worked as a humanitarian volunteer, documentary photographer, and researcher in Rwanda, Cambodia, Albania, Mexico, India, Bosnia, and Bolivia.
Greitens served as a U.S. Navy SEAL officer and was deployed four times during the Global War on Terrorism to Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq. He served as the Commander of a Mark V Special Operations Craft Detachment, as Commander of a Joint Special Operations Task Unit, and as Commander of an Al Qaeda Targeting Cell. In 2005, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as a White House Fellow, and in 2011 the Association of the United States Navy named him the Navy Reserve Junior Line Officer of the Year. His military awards include the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star.
After returning from Iraq in 2007, Greitens donated his combat pay to found The Mission Continues. As CEO, he was frequently recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in America. Major League Baseball and People magazine named him an “All-Star Among Us,” and the National Conference on Citizenship named him its “Citizen Soldier of the Year.” In 2008, President Bush personally presented him with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, and in 2012 Greitens was awarded the Charles Bronfman Prize. He was named to TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World for 2013.” Most recently in 2014, Fortune magazine recognized him as one of “50 Greatest Leaders in the World.”
A photographer and writer, Greitens is the author of four books. His first book, Strength & Compassion, was recognized as ForeWord Magazine’s Photography Book of the Year, and was the Grand Prize Winner of the New York Book Festival. Eric’s second book, The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL, was a New York Times Bestseller. His third book, The Warrior’s Heart, was recognized as one of the “Best Teen Books of 2012” by Barnes & Noble and Kirkus Reviews.
Greitens taught as a Senior Fellow at the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri and at the Olin School of Business at Washington University. His work has been covered by local and national media outlets including Fox News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, CBS, ABC, NPR, The Today Show, The Colbert Report, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Greitens’s latest book, Resilience, released in March 2015, was a New York Times bestseller.
In 2014, Greitens stepped down as CEO of The Mission Continues and left the board in 2015 when he decided to run for public office. In 2017 he was elected governor of Missouri. He resigned that office in May 2018. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his family.
AWARD PRESENTATION: Eric Greitens
Our civic and moral responsibility is to treat our returning veterans with dignity and respect. The dialogue is beginning to change from one that focuses on what veterans have done or have suffered to what they have to give.WATCH HERE