The Mission Continues and FOX Sports Midwest host the "Summer Service Slam"

Posted August 16, 2012

Robert Wake says he remembers very little of the mortar blast that left him wounded on the roof of a Najaf police station in May 2004. His unit had been engaged in a day long firefight when the mortar round landed just feet away. Injuries from the blast would keep him at Fort Leonard Wood Hospital in recovery for the next year.  Although his injuries would ultimately end a 25-year military career, Robert was undeterred.  He re-enlisted in 2010—but this time, in his community, by serving a Mission Continues Fellowship with the American Red Cross.

Robert has become a recognized leader in his community over the past two years, spearheading many community initiatives for the Red Cross.  This past June, Robert led the second of three community service projects to take place in summer 2012 in partnership with The Mission Continues and FOX Sports Midwest. For the second year in a row, The Mission Continues and FOX Sports Midwest have collaborated for “Summer Service Slam,” a series of veteran-led service projects across Missouri and Illinois.

Each Summer Service Slam project unites FOX Sports Midwest’s passion for baseball and The Mission Continues’ passion for veterans’ service.  Since 2007, Mission Continues service projects have engaged civilians to serve alongside veterans to better their communities. These veteran-led projects empower veterans to feel more connected to their communities and help civilians gain a better understanding of veterans’ service and leadership.

To date, Summer Service Slam projects have engaged over 150 veterans and nearly 700 civilians in service together. Project leaders like Robert Wake include Marine Corps Veteran Nick Holman in Columbia, MO; Army Veteran James Casey in Hannibal, MO; and Army and Navy Veteran Joel Alexander in Rolla, MO.

Each project receives promotional coverage from FOX Sports Midwest, including recruitment spots during St. Louis Cardinals broadcasts. At the project, the FOX Sports Midwest crew is on-hand, led by Cardinals color commentator and U.S. Army Veteran Al Hrabosky. In the weeks that follow each Summer Service Slam, FOX Sports Midwest produces a recap of the project to air during a Cardinals game.

Partnerships like the one with FOX Sports Midwest can provide a model for organizations within Got Your Six to combine resources, creating new avenues to challenge veterans to serve and lead in their communities. Many of the volunteers at each project were not familiar with the organization or the context of our mission prior to the on-air coverage provided by FOX Sports Midwest.  Fox Sports Midwest is worthy of applause for believing in veterans like Army Veteran Robert Wake as civic assets, and for providing the medium to spread the message of veterans’ continued service to millions of Americans across the Midwest.

The final Summer Service Slam of 2012 is quickly approaching. On Saturday, August 18, 2012, veteran and civilian volunteers will gather in Belleville, IL, just across the river from Downtown St. Louis, to refurbish a local softball field. Leading the project will be Marine Corps veteran Steve Wahle.  For more information on how to get involved, please visit The Mission Continues’ website.