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Veteran Makes It His Mission To Help Fellow Vets

FARMINGTON, Utah – Many military veterans in our community struggle with the invisible, emotional and mental scars of war. But, help is available for veterans and their families. One Utah veteran continues his own healing by helping other vets.

“I’m not a scientist,” said Retired Army Sergeant Josh Hansen. “I’m not a doctor. My recovery happened due to the fact that I got out of the house and got moving.”

Today, that meant pickleball with other veterans at the Farmington Recreation Center, one of 140 Continue Mission events already this year. When the snow flies, you’ll find them cross-country skiing. Continue Mission’s motto: “No veteran left behind.”

“Get veterans out doing stuff together again,” said Hansen. “So we have that support system.”

A decade ago, Hansen came home from the Iraq War with serious physical and emotional injuries, including post-traumatic stress.

“I went down that dark hole. Never leaving the house,” he said. “My thoughts were to die by suicide.”

As a sergeant in Iraq, he lost six men in battle. When he came home, he lost four others to suicide.

“That was my wake up call, my turning point that I needed to get help,” he said.

He started at the VA and found hope and healing through exercise, and decided to share it, founding Continue Mission in 2014.

“The real importance of finding Continue Mission was getting myself out into the public and getting myself out to where I could do things, so I wasn’t isolating,” said Army veteran Mark Meacham.

He found Continue Mission nine months ago, after his life spiraled into depression.

“I don’t have to sit in fear,” he said. “I can get out and move and do things in the public and enjoy meeting other people and doing these activities.”

Harvard Public Health featured Continue Mission last month. The program also grabbed the attention of President George W. Bush who included Hansen in his book, Portraits of Courage.

Hansen still has ups and downs. But, he said all struggling veterans need to get out and embrace life again.

“We need to take care of one another and support each other through this stuff,” said Hansen.

Hansen said Continue Mission has already served more than 2,000 veterans this year, and families are welcome at most events and encouraged to join in. To find out about the next event, call 801-243-2508, or go online at continuemission.org.

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