TOPEKA (KSNT) – For retired U.S. Marine Crops Gunnery Sergeant Todd Schroeder, serving two decades with the military wasn’t enough.

Schroeder was initially attracted to the military through movies and stories he grew up with, in addition to encouragement from his father who also served.

“That lifestyle, that way of life, I took to it pretty well,” Schroeder said. “I was successful, so I stayed in until I got my 20.”

During those 20 years of service, Todd would travel all across the world as an electronics maintenance technician, martial arts instructor and foreign security force advisor.

“We were embedded with third brigade first Iraqi division,” Schroeder said. “We helped provide assistance for coalition support, we were there for the second free elections, helped building the election booths so they could have that. It was still dangerous, it was still involved, it was hot.” 

Today, Todd works for the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas, as a department service officer. His job focuses on getting veterans the resources they need post service.

“We act as their advocates, help them navigate the complex nature of the VA,” Schroeder said. “Fill out all the forms, listen to the stories, try to gleam from the issues they’re dealing with – and identify what benefits and services we can apply for.” 

From his perspective, “If you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re leaving benefits and services to the wayside that could help our fellow service members, our fellow veterans, their loved ones,” Schroeder said. “It’s important that you get out there and you do this, because it’s not just  about you – it’s about all of us.”

For Todd, serving at any level is integral to the human experience.

“When you’re lost and without, pick up a garbage bag, go clean up a highway, at least you’re accomplishing something, and it’s in service,” Schroeder said. “Go to the local homeless shelter, help serve food. You know to be in service is the greatest calling we as individuals could ever make. We don’t have enough of that here in this country or in the world. We should do a better job of being of service.” 

To Todd, service, through the military or serving the community, is the highest calling one can answer to.