The Evolution of
the Fellowship Program
Awarded Per Year
Military Service: Army
Host Organization: Veterans of Foreign Wars
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rachel Gutierrez served five years in the United States Army. While on deployment in Iraq, Rachel was responsible for providing human resource services to over 45,000 service members, civilians, and contactors in her coverage area. Following a medical discharge from the military in 2005 and starting a family, Rachel embarked on a new career in the private sector – a transition that left her wanting more. Rachel was awarded a Mission Continues Fellowship in 2012, and was able to regain her passion for service through volunteer work at a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post and at Veterans First, Ltd. Throughout her fellowship, Rachel was able to provide much needed support to women veterans who had struggled with their transitions.
"I now have a renewed desire and confidence to set forth and actually do something for the veteran community... I've experienced first-hand what it means to make change happen, what it means to inspire, what it means to lead, an experience that I had not felt since my time in the military."
Hiawatha Clemmons III
Military Service: Marine Corps
Host Organization: Brandon Middle School
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Hiawatha Clemmons III served four years in the United States Marine Corps, including a deployment to Iraq. Labeled a special needs student most of his life, he joined the Marine Corps to prove to himself and others that he was capable of standing among the best of his peers. Through a fellowship awarded by The Mission Continues, Hiawatha was able to return to his former middle school and provide guidance and mentorship to other students labeled as "special needs." Hiawatha consistently went above and beyond what was required, finding the sense of purpose and mission that went missing following the end of his military service. Since completing his service at Brandon Middle School, Hiawatha has decided to pursue a career in counseling.
"I not only want to inspire the children at Brandon Middle, but prove to them that they can beat the odds like I did."
Military Service: Marine Corps
Host Organization: Growing Washington
Location: Bellingham, WA
At 18 years old, Christopher Brown was deployed on his first combat tour to Fallujah, Iraq, as a Squad Automatic Weapon gunner. Over the next four years, Chris would be deployed twice more, again to Iraq in 2007, and later to Afghanistan in 2008. His unit lost 41 Marines during his three deployments, a loss that has motivated him to live his life in honor of their sacrifices. Chris was awarded a Mission Continues Fellowship in 2012 to serve at Growing Washington, where he developed a program for other returning veterans to use horticulture therapy to ease their transitions home. The program also promotes sustainable agriculture, a cause Chris is very passionate about. Since the conclusion of his fellowship, Chris has continued to lead at Growing Washington so he can provide nutrious, readily available food to his community.
"Having gone through the struggle of transition to civilian life, I have learned what creates a healthy transition and what might be destructive. That desire to share those experiences and serve others making that transition will never leave me."
Military Service: Army
Host Organization: Living Forward Alliance
Location: Houston, TX
Erika Bowen served more than nine years in the United States Army. Following a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003, Erika returned home ready for a fresh start. Still motivated by the purpose her military service provided, Erika was drawn into contract work, spending time in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Dubai. In 2012, Erika joined over 100 other veterans at Bravo Class orientation and for the next six months volunteered her time at Living Forward Alliance. Through her fellowship, Erika counseled women in the criminal justice system, setting an example and model of service for others to follow. Since completing her fellowship, Erika has continued leading at Living Forward Alliance and recently took a position in Houston Independent School District to serve local youth.
"I hope that because of my service that my community will gain a better understanding of military veterans and the value they bring to solving the problems we face at home."
Military Service: Air Force
Host Organization: Serve DC
Location: Washington, D.C.
Anthony DeMarino served eight years in the United States Air Force as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician including two deployments to Iraq. While on deployment in 2006, Anthony's vehicle was overturned resulting in injuries that would lead to his medical discharge in 2010. Still inspired to serve, Anthony was awarded a Mission Continues fellowship in 2012 to volunteer at Serve DC, an organization dedicated to promoting service as an innovative and sustainable solution to pressing social challenges. Anthony is now a Fellow Alumni pursuing his Master's Degree in National Security Policy at Georgetown University.
"The Mission Continues is the perfect organization for me to showcase my personal traits that can positively impact my community."
Military Service: Navy
Host Organization: Breakthrough Miami
Location: Miami, FL
Roya Gordon enlisted in the United States Navy immediately following high school. Roya served six years as an Intelligence Specialist, providing critical intelligence in support of ongoing combat and trade operations throughout the world. In summer 2012, Roya was awarded a Mission Continues Fellowship to serve at Breakthrough Miami, a local nonprofit organization that provides an academic enrichment program for underserved youth in Miami-Dade County. Through her fellowship, Roya is able to inspire younger generations to success in the classroom.
"I am not looking for easy volunteer work. I am looking to use the skills that the United States Navy gave me and apply them to helping fellow civilians."