Those who protect and serve this country need people who will protect and serve them once they leave the armed forces. ShaDonna “Mo” McPhaul is on a mission to provide knowledge, information and resources to some of our most vulnerable–our veterans. As the founder of Mo’s Heroes her mission is to significantly reduce the homeless veteran population through prevention, outreach, support services and community partnerships. Mo has a passion to help those who are forgotten. Mo answered the call to serve her country at the tender age of 18 years old. She is now positioning herself to serve a vulnerable population as they transition from soldier to civilian. Lets take a look into how Mo ended up on this path of service.
Tell us about your childhood.
My younger brother and I were raised by a single mother. My mother was married twice. Both step-dads played a very important part in our lives. We have a huge family of aunts, uncle, and cousins so there is never a dull moment when we all get together. We all took care of each other.
What would you say was the narrative that was expressed to you based upon where you grew up, how you grew up and the messages you received?
Growing up, I had to take on a lot of responsibility at an early age. I never saw my mom unemployed, as a matter of fact she always held down two or three jobs to ensure my brother and I never went without anything. Reflecting on my life now, is why I work as hard as I do to make ends meet.
How did that narrative play out in your decisions, actions and feelings about yourself?
Being responsible as a child and seeing my mother be responsible imprinted it in my DNA that I must be a responsible adult. I am very proud of the adult I have become. However, there are moments where I find that I take on more than I should and it can become overwhelming. But, I do feel that all of this is preparing me for life after the military.
What was the catalyst or main event that made you say that narrative needed to change?
After I had my son in 2012, I knew I had to step my game up and be the best example of a responsible adult. I’ve always thought of myself as being pretty responsible, but having a child really put it into perspective. Do I get everything right? No. Do I try and are my intentions and heart pure? Yes.
What is the new narrative in your life?
My new narrative is “just go for it”. I realize now that I will never be “perfect” not that I ever thought that I would be. I’m always going to do my best. Will failures and disappointments come? Yes. Will I continue to hold my head high no matter what? Yes. Do I care about what others think about me? Yes, but I won’t let that affect my morale and self esteem.
How does this new narrative show up in your everyday life?
I face major challenges and I fight minor battles everyday with what seems like everyone. Today I’m careful about what I say and how I react to different situations in my life. I know that I don’t have to attend a battle that I’m invited to. I don’t have to respond or even give any energy to negative situations that don’t mean anything to my life.
To make the commitment at a very early age to serve your country is life changing. Mo was just out of high school when she decided to dedicate her career and life to the armed forces. Imagine going from raising your hand to ask to use the restroom and the next month raising your hand to take an oath to protect and serve our country. That was a great amount of responsibility to rest on the shoulders of an 18 year-old. However, Mo has vowed to use her resources and knowledge wisely after leaving military life so that other veterans can be equipped with tools to acclimate them to civilian life.
Thank you ShaDonna “Mo” McPhaul for protecting and serving from both sides of the table.
For more information about Mo and Mo’s Heroes please follow these social media platforms:
Facebook Mo’s Heroes
Instagram Mo’s Heroes