VetsWork: An Opportunity to Share the Magic of Reality


When I look back to when I was a kid playing in the woods, which I often did, I can remember what I didn’t realize then; there really is a sense of magic in the world. As kids, we experience this worldly magic through our imaginations. Playing in a tree might actually be perceived as playing in a castle tower. It was always an adventure when stepping into the forest, even if it was the forest behind your house. This part of me has never left me, but has perhaps just been suppressed for a time.


I spent four years as Military Intelligence with the U.S. Army. The army did great things for me in terms of developing certain aspects I would have liked to have improved on, for example, helping me become a bit less introverted. People in the army always say “The army isn’t for everyone,” and, well, they couldn’t be more right. Despite providing many benefits to my wife and I, the army wasn’t for me in the long haul. And even as I can see noticeable differences in myself from before and after the army, one thing remained suppressed within me; the desire to go back into the forest and acquaint myself with that worldly magic.


That magic is now viewed in a new lens, considering the things I couldn’t comprehend as a child. Understanding the processes within nature which make the air cleaner, the soil softer, the flora so vibrant and enduring… This is the new magic in which I see the world. This is a perspective which is more than worth spreading with others. This is the suppressed feeling which I’m thrilled to reawaken with my internship with the U.S. Forest Service. In working with the community and youth, I hope I can do my part in spreading magic to others so they can experience it for themselves. I’m grateful for the Mt. Adams Institute VetsWork program as well as the Forest Service for providing me, as well as other veterans, with this opportunity.


I’m currently in development of a video with the goal of recruiting volunteers for Multnomah Falls. I had hoped to share it with everyone here on this blog, unfortunately though, it’s not ready. In the last six weeks, I’ve experienced a wide variety of work, large in part due to my fantastic supervisor who is dead-set on helping me gain a permanent position within the Forest Service when the internship is completed (thank you again, if you’re reading this). My work load will be coming in fast as time takes us into the summer months. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of exciting stories to tell the next time around.

Take it easy.



Meet VetsWork AmeriCorps Intern Chante Starr


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Placement:  City of Vancouver

Position:       Community Events & Volunteer Enhancement Coordinator


“I know that this internship will be a great opportunity to help bring the community members of Vancouver together for a positive cause.”

Chante was born and raised in Queens, New York. After receiving her BA in Communication Arts from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, Maryland she enlisted in the United States Army. She served from 2010 until 2013, deploying to Iraq under Operation New Dawn. It was there that she met her husband John, a veteran with a Purple Heart. Upon Honorable completion of her service to the Army, Chante and her husband moved to his hometown of Vancouver, Washington.

While searching for the right employment opportunity Chante received information about VetsWork from a VA contact. She applied for and was accepted to serve with the City of Vancouver as the Community Events and Volunteer Enhancement Coordinator. Chante eagerly anticipates that this internship will “teach me new things about myself “ and will allow her to “meet some amazing people.” She offers this enthusiastic assessment of the impact she will have in this position: “This internship will be an exciting way for the City of Vancouver to reach out to other veterans and other community members to encourage them to volunteer and check out the awesome events we hold in our community.” In her free time Chante enjoys jig-saw puzzles, hiking, walking her dogs along the trails and a little bit of fishing, as well as music and dancing.