November 11th, 2011
By Eleanor Goldberg
When Dylan Tete left Iraq, he thought he was finished working in ravaged cities. But, when Hurricane Katrina hit the day he was to start graduate school, he instinctively knew what he had to do.
Tete, 33, put his education on hold and went to work.
“Everything that I’ve done since Iraq, since I left the military has been to … weave this sort of solidarity and strength that military people possess, to weave that into the social fabric of New Orleans,” Tete told The Huffington Post. “By doing that, I’ve gained a lot.”
Tete isn’t alone when it comes to feeling a burning drive to continue to give back to his country, even after having already put his life on the line.
“[Veterans] don’t want to drink beer and share war stories in some dark beer hall,” remarked William McNulty, a Marine who co-founded a disaster-relief nonprofit. “What they do want to do is continue their service.”
ServiceNation, a campaign working to redefine the concept of “service” beyond military bases and combat zones, is helping veterans to find their purpose again. In 2009, Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joined up with ServiceNation’s Mission Serve initiative to declare Veterans Day an official national day of service. Civilians and veterans come together to give back and show vets that they don’t have to retire a uniform, so long as there is someone in need.