Joseph Hartner - University of Maryland
Mr. Hartner is a former U.S. Marine who deployed to Kuwait in 2018, and he has kept working to support his fellow service members since returning. Inspired by the tragic suicide of his cousin, who served in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Hartner works with Mission22, a national nonprofit dedicated to counseling veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and other issues.
-Dr. Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland
At the start of my journey at Mission22, the average death by suicide in the military community was around 22 deaths a day. Today that number is just over 17 deaths a day; that is still 17 deaths too many. My interest in volunteering with Mission22 as an Event Coordinator, unfortunately, came with the passing of my cousin, Ray Ring. Ray was a born-and-raised Minnesota boy who meant so much to my family. When I received the text that he passed away by taking his own life, this angered me. Not because he was my cousin, but he was also a Sailor in the United States Navy. This affected not only my family, but also my military culture. Because Ray showed acts of honor, courage, and commitment for his country, I wanted to help struggling Veterans like him. This opportunity has given me a way to show Veterans that their life is worth living.
My goal while attending the University of Maryland is to make an impact on its community. My volunteer time for Mission22 and my electoral position in our student organization allow me to attack this goal. My mentor in the United States Marine Corps taught me to always leave a place better than the way you found it. Opportunities to be a voice in our unique community allow me to set an example and accomplish anything I put my mind to. I successfully walked two 2.2-mile walks around the College Park community and raised over $2,500 for Mission22. This opportunity has given me leadership skills to develop myself as well as the ability to focus on development in others. I need to make an impact on my fellow Veterans and the surrounding community. It is my way to give back to a community that means so much to my core values of love, peace, and tolerance.
2022-23 Mid-Atlantic Civic Fellow