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U.S. Vets Still Want to Serve

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By Rebecca Sheir

A new study suggests most troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan want to keep serving their communities.

Ninety percent of the nearly 800 veterans in the study say they'd like to engage in community service. Retired Colonel Robert Gordon believes its what veterans were born to do.

"Having served in the Army for 26 years, I can tell you its a part of our DNA," he says.

But the study, conducted by public-policy firm Civic Enterprises, says most veterans don't engage in community service. because they aren't asked. While seven in 10 vets report receiving offers of assistance from local organizations, two in 10 say theyve been asked to lend a hand.

Robert Gordon hopes to change that with Mission Serve, an initiative he helped launch this week to expand volunteer opportunities for veterans, thereby "restoring the proud tradition of serving those who serve our nation."

At a kick-off at George Washington University, Gordon was joined by Alma Powell, who chairs Americas Promise Alliance, a children's advocacy coalition co-founded by her husband, Colin Powell. She quoted Thomas Jefferson:

"There is a debt of service due from every man to his country, proportion to the bounties which nature and fortune have measured to him. And that's the spirit that is alive here."

Powell and Gordon hope one day 100% of returning troops will be inspired to serve country and community.

To quote one respondent to the study: "Recognize our usefulness. We are not charity cases. We are an American asset."


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