Volunteering is important because giving back as a human being is what life is about. I have overcome a lot in life, but bad things happen to good people all the time. The question is do you pick yourself up or do you wallow in self-pity. Everybody has a story. Are you willing to sit and listen and make an effort to help?”
Caitlan Chorbak’s path through life has been one of remarkable resilience and resolve. As a baby she was left on the side of the road and adopted through a Catholic charity. Yet that uncertain start didn’t stop her from rising to the top of her high school class and soon after enlisting in the military. She served for seven years and when discharged she, like many veterans, struggled to integrate back into civilian life.
“When I came back I was completely lost, I had lost my sense of identity,” said Caitlan. “The thing of it is there is a lot of stigma in the public and a lot of people don’t see us for who we are. We are great individuals, with great minds.”
Caitlan’s own struggles upon returning to civilian life exposed a problem with alcohol that lead her to Alcoholics Anonymous. Her path then led to work with the homeless population in Jacksonville. One night she ran into somebody she had served with in the Military who was now homeless.
“I was floored,” Caitlan said. “I went on a warpath and totally immersed myself in the community. For me it’s pretty simple, I firmly believe in coming together to take care of your own.”
Caitlan became involved with The Mission Continues, a veterans’ group dedicated to using skills learned in the military to serve their communities in new ways. With just a small team, she hits the streets multiple times a week to provide needed items, and help veterans set long term goals to get into a more stable situation. She also gives many hours to The Mission Continues to help with a variety of projects such as painting schools, building playgrounds, and replacing fences.
In addition to all this, Caitlan is a fulltime student working towards a Business Degree. When asked what she does in her free time, her response was volunteer and hangout with the homeless.