New Parks Program to Support Post-9/11 Veterans

Monday, September 12, 2016NPF News

WASHINGTON – The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has elevated its commitment to veterans across the nation with the announcement of its philanthropic grants to the National Park Foundation (NPF) and The Mission Continues to support a programmatic partnership between The Mission Continues and the National Park Service (NPS). The Veterans in Parks program, launched during the centennial year for both Boeing and NPS, supports and expands opportunities for volunteer service and career development for post-9/11 veterans within the hundreds of National Park Service sites and programs nationwide.

“Veterans have answered the call of duty time and again, and through our partnership with Boeing, we have the opportunity to give back to the incredible women and men who have sacrificed so much to protect our country by connecting them with our national parks,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. “Not only can parks provide a career path, but they can also serve as settings for reflection and healing. We are grateful that, together with Boeing and The Mission Continues, we will connect more veterans to our national park community.”

In 2014, Boeing connected NPF, the official nonprofit partner of NPS, and The Mission Continues, a non-profit focused on providing career and service opportunities to post-9/11 veterans, with a planning grant to develop a public-private partnership to help returning veterans build careers and engage in volunteer service protecting, restoring, and rebuilding America’s natural and cultural resources. Built around a strong volunteer ethos towards service alongside communities, this programmatic partnership will help to significantly expand national park access and services to America’s underserved young veteran population.  

“Boeing and its employees are deeply committed to supporting our nation’s military personnel, veterans and their families,” said John Blazey, Boeing’s vice president of Global Corporate Citizenship. “As we celebrate our centennial year, we recognize the service and sacrifice of our veteran workforce and the unique role this community has played in the success of our company over the past century. That’s why we are proud to partner with the National Park Foundation and The Mission Continues – developing pathways for military personnel and veterans to build better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities."

On Sunday, September 11, the Veterans in Parks program officially kicked off at a service event hosted by The Mission Continues at Fort Battery Ricketts Park in Washington, DC, a national park site. Fort Battery Ricketts, within the Civil War Defenses of Washington, was constructed after the Battle of First Manassas in a larger attempt to fortify the city.  Despite the park’s rich history and prime location in the city, it has been underutilized by the surrounding community. Yesterday, more than 100 military veterans, supporters, and Boeing employees came together to beautify the park and to make it more accessible and attractive to local residents. 

“I’m very proud that we have developed such a strong partnership with our veteran community. Veterans represent many of the ideals the National Park Service holds near and dear; serving our nation and preserving our country’s resources,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We appreciate that the veterans supporting the Mission Continues have chosen national parks as one of their major focus areas. Their work will go a long way in ensuring these culturally and historically rich spaces will be accessible to generations of visitors.”

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The Mission Continues organized the event at Fort Battery Ricketts to honor Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) veterans who fought and sacrificed in the wake of 9/11 and who now continue to serve at home, strengthening our communities through service. Boeing funds The Mission Continues Service Platoon that led the 9/11 Project at Fort Battery Ricketts Park in Washington, DC. The event gathered multiple service platoons from The Mission Continues as well as Boeing, NPS, and NPF employees working toward a common objective: rehabilitation and beautification of the park to create a safe space for the community to play, learn, work, and serve. The project is a great example of how the Veterans in Parks program will engage veterans in service and careers with NPS.

“Our nation’s military veterans have joined with the National Park Service and, through our partnership with the National Park Foundation and Boeing, are now serving in national parks across the country.  We recognize the incredible value that the parks provide, both as a tremendous career opportunity, and as a national resource to be treasured and protected,” said Mary Beth Bruggeman, Marine Corps veteran (OIF) and executive director for the southeast at The Mission Continues. “We also see the opportunity for veterans to ensure that the value of the national parks is visible and accessible to our most underserved urban communities. Through this partnership, we hope to continue our mission making a generational impact on communities.” 

ABOUT THE BOEING COMPANY
Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial airplanes and defense, space and security systems. In addition, Boeing supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in more than 150 countries. The company’s products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training. Boeing employs approximately 160,000 people across the United States and in more than 65 countries. Company revenues for 2015 were $96 billion.

ABOUT THE MISSION CONTINUES
The Mission Continues is a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact. Our operations in cities across the country deploy veteran volunteers alongside non-profit partners and community leaders to solve some of the most challenging issues facing our communities: improving community education resources, eliminating food deserts, mentoring at-risk youth and more. Through this unique model, veterans build new skills and networks that help them successfully reintegrate to life after the military while making long-term, sustainable transformations in communities and inspiring future generations to serve. To learn more, visit: www.missioncontinues.org or follow us on Twitter @missioncontinue.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 413 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards.  In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a $350 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years.  Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.