Charles Bronfman Prize recipient helps post-9/11 veterans

NEW YORK (JTA) — Eric Greitens, the founder of an organization to reintegrate post-9/11 military veterans into civilian life, is the recipient of the 2012 Charles Bronfman Prize.

The Charles Bronfman Prize awards $100,000 to a humanitarian younger than 50 whose Jewish values contribute significantly to the betterment of the world.

Greitens, 38, founded The Mission Continues, which helps reintegrate post-9/11 veterans into civilian life through a six-month community service fellowship. The organization yields results in full employment, higher education and ongoing service for veterans, according to a news release.

A Pew Research Center study indicates that about half of this community shows symptoms of post-traumatic stress and has a typically higher than average unemployment and suicide rate.

A Missouri native, Greitens attended Duke University. As a Rhodes and Truman scholar, he earned his master’s degree in development studies and a doctorate in politics from Oxford University.

He has served as a humanitarian volunteer in Rwanda and Bosnia, and as a Navy SEAL in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Southeast Asia.

“Our civic and moral responsibility is to treat our returning veterans with dignity and respect,” Ellen Bronfman Hauptman said on behalf of the prize founders.

“Eric Greitens is an inspired humanitarian who teaches us all how to do just that, making veterans’ lives better and their communities stronger. For his passion, dedication and tireless efforts, he is being recognized by the Charles Bronfman Prize.”

The prize was announced Tuesday.

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