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The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) launched a new social media campaign, #StillServing, earlier this month to showcase ways U.S. military veterans continue to serve the country and their local communities.

#StillServing seeks to highlight positive contributions of civic engagement, volunteerism and other forms of community-centered service, and the VFW hopes the hashtag campaign will encourage other veterans nationwide to share on social media "how they continue to answer the call to serve in ways big and small,” a press release stated.

"Veterans truly exemplify the best of America,” said William "Doc” Schmitz, VFW national commander, in the release. "They are dedicated to giving of themselves, and the skills and values they develop in the military only deepen their desire to better themselves, their communities and their country through service.”
The launch of the VFW’s campaign, #StillServing, follows a 2018 report from the Corporation for National & Community Service, which showed that veterans "volunteer 25 percent more time [per year], are 17 percent more likely to make a monetary donation and are 30 percent more likely to participate in local organizations than the civilian population,” according to the VFW release.

To find instructions to share your own #StillServing story, visit the campaign’s website.

How a Hope Mills veteran works to help other veterans service dogs
A Hope Mills veteran and his service dog have been recognized by the national Veterans of Foreign Wars #StillServingcampaign which honors veterans for continued service in their communities after the military.

 A Rocky Hill veteran and his service dog have been recognized by the national Veterans of Foreign Wars #StillServingcampaign which honors veterans for continued service in their communities after the military. 

Johnathan Williams joined the Army in 2003 after the birth of his daughter.  

"I didn’t have a degree. I was fresh out of high school,” Williams said. "When I talked to the recruiter he was like, ‘What do you want to do?’ I was like, ‘I don’t care. Get me as fast as you can.’

"I did it for the sake of my family.”  

While at the military entrance processing center, someone showed Williams a video about psychological operations, leading to his career choice. He remained with the same psychological operations unit at then-Fort Bragg for about 20 years before medically retiring as a staff sergeant last year.  

Toward the end of his career, Williams found a dog breeder in Harnett County who was willing to donate a dog to become Williams’ service dog.  

"I needed one just because of my mental health, my PTSD, my anxiety and stuff like that,” Williams said.  

Williams trained the 8-week-old German Shephard, who is now 4, and named him Tank.  

Johnathan Williams brings his service dog Tank with him to events across the country, while representing his job, Soldier Solutions.

Tank was trained to help create space between Williams and other people when he is in crowds and is also able to retrieve Williams’ inhaler if he’s having trouble with his asthma.  

"If my anxiety levels start going up, he’ll come over and start resting his head on my lap just to make sure I’m okay,” Williams said.  

Soldier Solutions’ mission is to employ veterans while raising awareness about veteran suicides and mental health and providing providing funding for service dogs through its Operation: COMPANION initiative.

Williams is still serving by helping fellow veterans get the service dogs they need so they do not become one of the 22 veterans a day who succumb to suicide, according to the VFW’s news release.  

Williams said his job is specifically to travel the country and set up booths at events like state fairs or biker rallies.  

Soldier Solutions donates its profits to Texas-based nonprofit Train a Dog Save a Warrior, which Williams talks about to those who come up to the booth.  

The nonprofit pairs veterans with rescue dogs from kill shelters.  

"I tell them if you know someone that’s interested or needs a service dog, they can go to this website and fill out a contact form, and the owner of TADSAW will contact them directly by email and give his personal number so that he can talk to every single veteran independently and explain to them the program, how it works and make sure it’s the right fit for them,” Williams said.  

When he's not working, he uses social media to raise money for veterans and first responders.  

WIlliams' TikTok and Instagram pages are both @fireguyofficial.

He most recently helped a veteran, who is also a waitress at a Hope Mills Waffle House. The veteran, Williams said, faced her air conditioner, hot water heater and car all breaking down within a short time frame.  

"I’m always trying to find out any way that I can help out my brothers and sisters as much as I can,” Williams said.  

He said he stays connected to the veteran community, too, by being part of local VFWs.  

After he left the Army, he connected with the Hope Mills VFW Post 670 on Doc Bennett Road in Fayetteville, NC, where he used to play pool with his son and attended family nights. 

He is now a member at VFW Rocky Hill (Post 2138) where his job is in Connecticut and searches for VFWs when he’s on the road.  

"I know the different stuff they do for veterans. I know the comradery they got here. So, that’s always the first thing I look for,” he said.  

Williams encourages other veterans who are still serving their communities to submit their stories online at