News from the Week of November 4th

From a former Navy SEAL to a pioneering helicopter pilot, veterans made a splash in this week’s midterm election. At least fifteen military veterans will march onto the House floor as new members of the 116th Congress. Click here for a brief roundup of how veterans fared in critical races.

Women will also have a historically high presence in Congress, with more than 100 women elected this week. And there will be two Muslim women, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar—who is a former refugee from Somalia—and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

New Hampshire elected Safiya Wazir, a 27-year-old mother of two who escaped Afghanistan as a child refugee. She resettled in Concord in 2007 and learned English by studying the dictionary. “It’s great to see minorities stepping up,” said one constituent. “And it’s good to see (refugees), because they’ve been through a lot and some tough times, but now they can be whatever they want.”

As part of Tom Ricks’ ongoing effort to publish experiences of veterans who found meaningful work in their post-military careers, Colorado VFAI leader Travis Weiner stepped up to share his story. “Years after leaving the Army, I struggled with reconciling and making sense of my experiences,” he writes. “But it was my introduction to the completely dysfunctional, broken, unjust and immoral U.S. immigration system that put me on my new career path.”

Retired Marine and VFAI founder Scott Cooper was also highlighted in the column, describing his path to meaning after the military, which was ignited by his transition to national security outreach and refugee advocacy at Human Rights First. He writes: “I’m convinced that within this increasingly divisive political climate, veterans can be an important civilizing, unifying force… your service shouldn’t stop when you take off the uniform.”

On that note, what are you doing on Veterans Day? Join us in 15 cities as we unleash the collective potential of veterans to lead and serve in their communities. In Austin, we’ll landscape and beautify a special needs housing facility. In Charlotte, we’ll lay flags on the graves of fallen service members. In Philly, we’ll team up with the Travis Manion Foundation to clean up the Point Breeze neighborhood.

Don’t forget to tag your photos #ServiceDoesntStop. We’ll see you out there!