Episode 212 : Kevin Schmiegel On Service As A Bridge

Featured Guest: Kevin Schmiegel

  • Nov 19, 2020

“This cannot happen in our country right now. We cannot have a civilian-service divide.”

Kevin Schmiegel is the CEO of Operation Gratitude, which is the largest non-profit in the country for hands-on volunteerism in support of the military, veterans and First Responders. Operation Gratitude has expanded their essential operations to support doctors, nurses and hospitals during the Covid19 pandemic. In this episode we discuss how service is critical to bridging divides in our society, why Operation Gratitude expanded its operations to support the medical community, and effective ways to respond to “Thank you for your service”

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Key Learnings

1. The current strategic picture for a conversation around giving, gratitude, and service

2. Reflecting on the word “Giving”, how it’s analogous to service which is a common feature across Americans

3. Overcoming inertia around service & the origin story of Operation Gratitude

4. Waning morale and widening gaps between doctors, nurses, HCWs and their communities during the pandemic and how to bridge that gap

5. The need for comfort, how Covid makes that more difficult, and the need for empathy in that space

6. Addressing “Thank you for your service” with a response that can start a conversation

7. How getting special treatment or recognition makes people serving feel even more distant

8. Building a sense of community at the local level that can be sustained whether times are hard or not


Twitter @OpGratitude, Instagram @opgratitude

Operation Gratitude

Kevin’s essay in The Hill about how service can help unite communities

Giving page to support California firefighters

Virtual Volunteering

“A grateful nation that serves together is united”

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