Fellow Friday – Jill Shanteau
Eagle Leader Fellow Jill Shanteau connects with community through fellowship and friendship.
Jill Shanteau, a social worker at Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital and 2019 Eagle Leader Fellow, joined Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWB) in 2016. Shanteau’s mother served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War-era, and her grandfather served in both the Navy and Marine Corps during World War II. Their service inspired her to pursue a career supporting others who have served in the armed forces.
As a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs social worker and therapist, Shanteau works with veterans who have experienced trauma and post-traumatic stress (PTS). Therefore, Team RWB’s mission is close to her heart.
Team RWB quickly became a personal passion for Shanteau. After being a member for just one month, she accepted a leadership position as volunteer chapter Co-Captain. In this role, she helped the Columbia Chapter grow from 100 to more than 300 Eagles.
“If you are interested in connecting with other people and you are looking to have fun, Team RWB is the place for you,” Shanteau said. “Sometimes, all it takes is the courage to attend your first event. Once you show up and meet a few of our Eagles, you will learn you are not alone, and you will be eager to attend other events.”
Shanteau experienced the power of community and connection as a part of Team RWB first-hand early on as a new member. On July 4, 2016, she was handed an American flag by a teammate to carry during a run. At first, she felt a little uncomfortable. However, she soon realized the impact Team RWB could have on her life.
“It stands out to me because as a community member, I felt a little uncomfortable carrying the flag,” Shanteau said. “But the longer I carried it, I began to understand how powerful the experience was. I was in tears when I finished the race.”
Eventually, Shanteau decided to increase her volunteer involvement and applied for the Team RWB 2019 Eagle Fellowship. As a Fellow, Shanteau helped develop toolkits and guidelines to assist chapter leaders. She also mentored other volunteers by co-hosting monthly calls.
The Eagle Leader Fellowship includes external leadership development valued at over $5,000. Shanteau attended seminars and courses focused on serving active duty service members and veterans. In addition, she attended training for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), which will help her further assist veterans in her community.
Taking on new challenges
Shanteau’s participation in Team RWB activities has encouraged her to take on new physical challenges in addition to professional development. With a little Eagle on the way, Shanteau says that her biggest challenge for 2019 has been maintaining her exercise routine throughout her pregnancy.
“With the help of my local Team RWB chapter, I was able to regularly attend physical events throughout my pregnancy ― whether it involved a walk, a ruck or a rowing event,” Shanteau said. “I know that my chapter also will help me resume by normal physical activities after my baby is born.”
Though she first joined Team RWB to “do my part as a community member and help veterans adapt to a new normal in their community,” Shanteau found Team RWB to be so much more.
Applications for the 2020 Eagle Leader Fellowship open later this month. To learn more about the Eagle Leader Fellowship and Eagle Leader Development program, click here.