Fellow Friday – Scott Whisler
After separating from service in the U.S. Marine Corps, Scott Whisler found a calling in supporting his local veteran community.
Scott Whisler grew up alongside family members that served in the military. He was 13 years old when the attacks of September 11, 2001, occurred, and knew then that he wanted to follow his family members and be part of the fight to defend his country. Whisler was recruited into the Marine Corps out of Washington state and served on active duty for five years, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2010 as an infantry Marine.
After leaving the service, Whisler searched for another way to serve. He worked on veterans advocacy projects and raised funds for local nonprofits, but recognized a critical need for greater support for and engagement of the veteran community.
He found it in Team Red, White, and Blue and began attending local events. After a year he made a conscious decision to go all in with the Team and stepped into serve as one of his chapter’s Veteran Engagement Coordinators.
“I knew it would help me, but I also knew that the veteran community needed more engagement, more focus, and leadership,” said Whisler.
As a new Team RWB volunteer leader, Whisler attended his first Eagle Leader Experience in 2016. The experience was life-changing. At the event, he met several Eagle Leader Fellows and listened as they all shared their stories – their “why.” That experience introduced him to the Eagle Leader Fellowship and inspired him to apply to be an Eagle Leader Fellow. He continued to apply for the following years until earning his position in the 2019 cohort.
“The variety in their stories and their whys made me feel like there was room for me, too,” said Whisler. “Over the course of the weekend, I learned that there was a different way to connect with people and to lead. It was a way that had never been taught to me – that’s what was exciting to me.”
As a fellow, Whisler has had the opportunity to support volunteer chapter leaders on both a national and local level by leading training events, developing leader toolkits, and organizing local and regional events.
“As I dug into the fellowship, I wanted the opportunity to be a part of creating an experience like the one I had for others,” he said. “I wanted to pay it forward.”
One of the events he helped plan was a mountain bike excursion for the West Region in Seattle, WA.
“We had Eagles come out who had never been to an event,” said Whisler. “It was nice to see veterans who had been looking for a way to engage with other veterans. And to see them get out and get healthy.”
Taking on new challenges
Outside of the fellowship, Whisler is challenging himself on a personal level as a Team RWB member. His latest challenge was the GORUCK 50-Mile Star Course in Philadelphia, the longest single consecutive movement he’s done (at least, that he can recall!), outside of the Marine Corps. Last weekend, he finished the ruck in 17 hours, 15 minutes and 10 seconds on a team of Eagles. The cheers, celebratory handshakes, and hugs made it all worthwhile.
For Whisler, taking on physical challenges with new friends is the best way to get to know someone.
“You can ask all the questions in the world or swap stories of times long past as much as you want to,” Whisler said. “The truth is that you’ll never truly know what someone is made of until you’ve endured one of life’s challenges beside them. Team RWB is more than high fives and cool pictures, it’s about being there for others when no one else will.”
Applications for the 2020 Eagle Leader Fellowship just opened. To learn more about or apply to the Eagle Leader Fellowship, click here. Applications are due by November 14, 2019.