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A call to serve

January 20, 2014

By John Mantini

I think the first time I felt a real responsibility for something bigger than myself was when I was 11 years old and I heard President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech and the famous quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

At that time, I didn’t truly appreciate the significance of that statement, but it sparked in me the idea that I had a responsibility to do something for the public good. My dad was a World War II veteran, and he told me stories about how he left his family to answer the call to duty at a time of great crisis in the country. I always assumed that I would do the same when the time came.

I also remember that through my high school years there was a great emphasis on public service from both Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. I was devastated when both of them were killed within months of one another in 1968 because I felt these men were setting the moral compass for our country at a time of great internal strife.

The example of these two men, and President Kennedy before them, inspired me to serve my country in the military. Recently, when people find out I am a veteran, they are quick to offer a thank you for my service. I always respond that it was, and still is, my honor and privilege to serve the people of this great country and participate in this great experiment of democracy.

When I came to MCC I felt like I had achieved a lifelong dream—to be part of an organization designed to help those less fortunate in a new and dynamic way. I am thankful I have the chance to be a part of MCC and will continue to do what I can to help MCC continue to evolve in a positive way.