Meet Ed Gracious Community Member and Veteran Giving Back as a Mission Partner
Ed first came into the Neighborhood Care Center to give a ride to a church friend who was coming to shop at Neighborhood Market. When he walked in the door, he found much more than a place where people could access free groceries. He found a community of giving, neighborliness and support.
He immediately started volunteering as a mission partner.
"I did 8 years in the service before ended up at Clinton Power Plant. I retired after 33 years and started serving as a Mission Partner at the Neighborhood Care Center," explains Ed. "It's been a great way to stay connected to the community."
Ed originally started helping out with grocery stocking. After a few months he was asked to also serve as a host, connecting with community members coming in to get services and support. From serving as a Mission Partner, Ed has made so many new friends and feels more connected to his neighbors. He appreciates the opportunity to support and connect with others!
"One of the ones that's toughest for me is when I see other veterans that didn't have a successful transition out of the military as I did."
Ed often feels he is most filling his purpose when he is able to add value to a veteran. It's another way to reach out and help others who are struggling. However, for Ed, speaking with a veteran is also the most difficult. They have a shared bond based on experience, but they also have things that are very different based on the experiences they've had after serving. Ed feels so blessed to be able to support fellow veterans who did not have the same transitional support that he did when he left the service.
"Once a month we host and do a monthly check-in. I've been reminding people that anytime they need to talk to someone, that's what we're here for!"