Since 2008, Fuquay-Varina based Military Missions in Action has provided assistance and support to veterans and their families through programs such as Operation Building Hope, which provides home modifications for persons with physical or mental disabilities, enabling them to live independently; or Homes for Healing, which sources new and gently used furniture and household items for veterans transitioning out of homelessness.
Founded and helmed for many years by Mike Dorman, the Fuquay-Varina and MMIA communities mourned Dorman’s tragic passing in 2021.
“Mike was such a gregarious, charismatic, engaging individual, and this was his baby. He started it, and he ran it for 14 years,” says Greg Gebhardt, the organization’s new executive director.
Gebhardt comes to MMIA with a varied background: six years of active duty service at Fort Bragg, including multiple deployments; as a battalion commander in the North Carolina National Guard; as well as civilian positions in community relations, government affairs, and even at a tech startup.
“I just happened to be on LinkedIn one day last fall and saw that Military Missions in Action was looking to hire an executive director. I reached out to a couple of folks and said, ‘Hey, I have no experience, admittedly, running a nonprofit. But a lot of the things they’re looking for, I think I could use previous professional and personal experiences to maybe lead the organization,’” he recalls.
Gebhardt says he is fortunate to work with talented and capable director of operations, staff, and team of volunteers that “runs the day-to-day on the ground.” So he sets his sights on big-picture goals and partnerships.
“It’s leveraging all of my experiences that I’ve had at various professional stops along the way, to now call on those contacts to say, ‘Hey, are you willing to help us?’”
“In the 14 years that we’ve been around, MMIA has directly impacted more than 26,000 veterans and their families. In 2022 with only six paid staffers (three of those being part time) that number was 4,508. It’s a very lean organization — 91 cents of every dollar that we take in goes right back into our programs. So it’s a lean organization that punches well above its weight.
And so for those reasons, it’s maybe easier than not to ask folks to lend their help, their time, their talent, their treasure in support of our mission,” says Gebhardt.
During his first few months as executive director, Gebhardt continues to be impressed by the accomplishments and dedication of the small but mighty organization.
“The impact that we’re able to have as a regional nonprofit just blows me away when I look into the numbers. … This organization sent more than 2,800 care packages overseas to soldiers in 2022. We made 74 furniture deliveries across the state to veterans who are transitioning from homelessness into permanent residences,” he says.
But Gebhardt isn’t content with even that impressive resumé. The need for veterans assistance in many forms — furniture, care packages, transportation, financial donations — is ever-growing, he says.
“My vision is to make Military Missions in Action the leading veterans nonprofit in the state of North Carolina. With the foundation that Mike (Dorman) laid, there’s no reason that we can’t be that organization.”
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