On Saturday, November 13, members of the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash spent the morning volunteering with The Mission Continues, an organization devoted to providing veterans with opportunities to continue to serve their communities beyond their time in active military service.
Saturday’s event took place at a Mykawa Farm, a part of Houston ISD, where attendees helped build ADA-compliant flower beds, laid mulch, and helped build a path to make the grounds more wheelchair accessible. One such volunteer who took time out of her schedule to volunteer was Houston Dash and U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Jane Campbell.
Campbell’s ties to the military community run deep. Both of her parents are veterans of the Navy and her brother is currently serving. While Campbell has represented her country in a soccer uniform rather than a military one, these personal connections motivate her to give back to this community in any way she can. That the event came just two days after Veterans Day only reinforced the importance of service for Campbell.
“Veterans Day runs deep in the family and I think having parents in the Navy and having a brother that still serves currently, and a grandfather who served, it’s quite special. I wouldn’t be able to do my job, and we wouldn’t be able to be out here, without them and their service,” Cambell said. “So for me, if there is any way that I can attempt to do anything similar to what they do and give back, I am all for the opportunity. I’ll never be a service member and I’ll never serve, but if I can do anything in the community to help veterans and help those who still serve currently, I’m all for it. It’s a great honor to represent them in this way and be out here with The Mission Continues.”
Saturday’s event was part of the more than 8,000 service projects that the Mission Continues has played a role in completing. The organization’s goal is to tap into the sense of camaraderie and shared purpose that servicemembers experience when in the military that they may not have the opportunity to pursue after they complete their time in the armed forces. To have a professional athlete with such a deep personal connection to the military alongside the veterans in pursuit of this goal makes a huge difference for the organization.
“It’s amazing to have a professional athlete out here and she is working hard,” said Melissa Gruber, the Mission Continues manager of corporate partnerships. To hear her story of her parents in the military and her brother in the coast guard, it just adds another layer to her support and her excitement to be out here and to want to continue to partner with us at other events. It’s amazing.”
In addition to helping veterans connect with and contribute to their communities, the work done on Saturday will help hundreds of children in the Houston ISD, as the farm is used as a space for teachers to provide hands on learning experiences for students to gain a better understanding of concepts related to ecosystems, food systems and the impact of technology and climate on the production of food. By making this farm more accessible to all students, the work done will have an impact on so many kids throughout the city.
For more information on the work of the Houston Dynamo and Dash throughout the community, visit www.houstondynamofc.com/charities/.