During his service in the U.S. Army, Blake Bourne, Executive Director of Veterans Bridge Home, saw how empowered frontline soldiers could solve complex problems. It’s an approach his nonprofit practices to successfully transition veterans home after military service.
Blake says volunteering was the key to his success transitioning into a civilian career. “The opportunity to volunteer opened up my network of, of people in the community exposed me to people in places that I wouldn’t have otherwise met and really allowed me to, I think, understand my place in the community I wasn’t from.”
Blake joined Veterans Bridge Home in September 2013, after completing a public-service fellowship with The Mission Continues, in which he spent six months working at Hands On Charlotte, a non-profit volunteer service organization. During his fellowship, Blake worked to raise awareness of veterans as civic assets, by increasing veteran involvement in the community, conducting volunteer outreach, and managing volunteer projects.
Blake served in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer for six years, leaving at the rank of Captain. He was stationed in Georgia, Germany, and North Carolina and deployed to Iraq twice. Ranger and Airborne qualified, he earned the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and Bronze Star.
Prior to joining the Army, Blake worked on Capitol Hill, in the U.S. House of Representatives. He held several positions in the office of Congressman Bill Shuster from Pennsylvania, a member of the Armed Services, Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. He holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
Organized by America’s Warrior Partnership, the Warrior Community Integration Symposium is an opportunity to share best practices, find innovative solutions, and form new collaborative partnerships to better help the veterans in their communities address the work challenges they sometimes encounter when making the transition to civilian life.
WorkingNation set up its cameras at the Symposium and interviewed the speakers and attendees about the important issue of helping veterans deal with workforce challenges. You can follow the conversation on our social media under the hashtag #