On Veterans Day, thousands of veterans around the country will spend their time doing what they know how to do best: serve others selflessly.
Americans across the country can join their fellow veterans by volunteering at community service projects, which can be found on Serve.gov, President Obama's National Call to Service, led by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
On Sunday, I will be joining Team Rubicon, a unique group of veterans in New Jersey, as we help communities recover from Hurricane Sandy. These efforts will be spearheaded by two Iraq and Afghanistan veterans dedicated to unifying veterans with their community though service to others.
Team Rubicon was started by Jake Wood and fellow Iraq veteran William McNulty. The team, led by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, provides disaster service relief efforts across the globe. This Veterans Day, Team Rubicon will rally other veterans to the cause in New Jersey and serve alongside AmeriCorps members, FEMA Corps members, and other concerned citizens called to serve under the GotYour6 cause campaign. Team Rubicon shows that by uniting and leading our returning warriors and their families in service, we can bring this nation together.
Unity by service is a founding principle of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, the signature programs of CNCS. Service is a calling to help others though difficult and challenging times. Unity by service is a higher calling of all Americans and one that we excel at. We are a generous and giving nation, and it is that generosity, manifested in service, that binds us to our humanity and to each other.
As of today, nearly 1,000 national service members are in Hurricane Sandy affected states, with 855 more on standby for deployment. Their duties include assisting with shelter operations, supporting call centers, debris removal, and mass care. Before the recovery is complete, we expect thousands of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members to help families and local and state officials rebuild these communities. Many of them will be veterans serving with and for organizations like Team Rubicon.
In his Veterans Day Declaration, President Obama noted that the work of our veterans reminds us that “their legacy affirms that no matter what confronts us or what trials we face, there is no challenge we cannot overcome, and our best days are still ahead.”
Our work is just beginning as first responders and other emergency personnel manage life-saving and rescue efforts. We will lead the national service community in helping these communities, and the service and sacrifice of our veterans serve as an inspiration of what we can achieve though service and sacrifice.
As the work of Team Rubicon shows, we can achieve amazing things together. This year, for the first time ever, more than 2,000 AmeriCorps members will serve veterans and military families in their communities, and more than 27,000 veterans will lead their communities in service projects empowered by CNCS. So on this Veterans Day, take time to reflect on all who have served and are currently serving in uniform, and if you can, honor those in uniform by serving here, on the home front
Koby Langley is an Iraq War Veteran, and serves a Senior Executive Advisor for Wounded Warrior, Veteran and Military Family Initiatives at the Corporation for National and Community Service.