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Eager to Serve: Former Marine Reservist Looks to AmeriCorps to Continue his Mission

by Kate Enos

As servicemen and women return home from deployments, the urge to continue serving one's country doesn't go away. Many returning veterans are turning to AmeriCorps programs to continue their service, using their leadership, logistical, and analytical skills gained from their military service and applying it to their terms of service in AmeriCorps. To date, more than 16,000 veterans have served in AmeriCorps.

Chuck Hundley, a Marine Reservist throughout college was never deployed overseas because his skills as an AAV Technician were needed back in the states. That didn't stop him from trying however, “I wanted to go so badly and support my fellow troops, but I got the orders to stay back.”

After being discharged from the reserves, he looked toward other ways he could continue to serve. Enter AmeriCorps VISTA – Volunteers In Service to America.

As an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Yakima County Veterans Programs, Hundley is able to expand the capacity of the staff and help more veterans gain access to critical services to through the Veterans Relief Fund. He also has been active in helping veterans obtain resources on employment and job training and planning the Greater Yakima Standdown Job Fair.

On average, Hundley serves between 75-100 veterans a month. “It's great to be in a position to give back to those who have served our country and for me to be in a role where I can continue serving my country through AmeriCorps.”

AmeriCorps VISTA taps the skills, talents, and passion of more than 8,000 Americans annually to support community efforts to overcome poverty. The program's nationwide corps of VISTAs commits full-time for a year at nonprofit organizations or local government agencies to build the capacity of these organizations to carry out programs that fight poverty.

The Corporation for National and Community Service believes that veterans are valuable assets to their communities and that volunteers and national service can help recent veterans transition back to civilian life. Stories like this one demonstrate the commitment CNCS has made to serving veterans -- both through supporting efforts that aide them and by engaging veterans in national service programs like AmeriCorps.

Hundley is a veteran whose talent and leadership is put to work helping fellow veterans. He is but one of many veteran enlisted by the Corporation to solve problems at home by using the skills, experience, and knowledge they've gained by serving their country.

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