‘This is something I like, helping people’
By Phil Kloer
Persell Green’s voice is deep and soft. And what he says is deeply honest.
“When I got out of the Marines in June, I was in a Wounded Warrior Battalion. A lot of the guys there were wondering what we were going to do afterward. We were wondering who would hire us. We didn’t know what was going happen.”
What happened for Green was that he joined AmeriCorps. He now serves with Habitat for Humanity San Diego, repairing and rehabbing houses that will eventually be sold to families in need.
Like many veterans who join AmeriCorps, he feels the connection between serving his country overseas and serving his country at home.
Just as he was part of a long tradition as a Marine sergeant, as an AmeriCorps member he belongs to a 20-year service program that has seen 820,000 individuals serve more than 1 billion hours at nonprofit and community organizations nationwide.
A native of Plant City, Florida, Green, 36, studied electrical engineering in college, then joined the Marines in 2002. In his 11 years as a Marine, he served multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, helped build and organize operating bases in both countries, won a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for Valor, and suffered head trauma that left him sensitive to bright light and prone to migraine headaches.
“A lot of us get out of the service, and the first thing on our mind is to find a job as quickly as possible because we’re used to working,” he says. “Somebody is used to getting up every day, going out and doing something, having a purpose; to find out you don’t have that any more, it’s scary.”
A friend pointed him to Habitat and AmeriCorps. “It’s been a good experience, working with the volunteers, getting comfortable,” he says. “This is something I like, helping people. You’re helping those who need help, giving them a hand up.”