Community can benefit from values veterans bring with them, former Navy SEAL tells gala crowd

Mark Divine and his wife Sandy at the Lynnwood Convention Center Tuesday night prior to Mark Divine’s speech at the national Operation Military Family Cares gala. Together, the Divines operate SEALFit, aimed at increasing mental toughness in business professionals.
Mark Divine and his wife Sandy at the Lynnwood Convention Center Tuesday night prior to his speech at the national Operation Military Family Cares gala.

A former Navy SEAL took the stage at the Lynnwood Convention Center Tuesday night and urged the community not to feel sorry for military service members returning from war but rather to embrace the values of “honor, courage and commitment” those veterans bring with them, and can use to transform their communities.

“We (military members) understand very deeply what honor and courage and commitment are,” retired SEAL Commander Mark Divine told the group of about 300 attending the Veterans Day event sponsored by Edmonds-based Operation Military Family Cares, “because we experienced it every day through the actions of our teammates.”

Divine, who retired from the Navy in 2011 after spending 20 years as a SEAL, is the founder of SEALFIT, a California-based training program for business professionals aimed at developing mental toughness. He told those attending the Operation Military Family Cares National Gala Event that he was motivated to join the Navy at age 25 after becoming disillusioned with his work as a CPA for a large accounting firm in New York City.

“There were no guiding or core values in the corporate world that I was experiencing,” Divine said, and he began seeking “people with a stronger set of values and values that aren’t all around money and greed and personal gain.” After spotting a Navy recruiting poster on his way home from work, he decided not only join the Navy but to apply for the elite SEALS unit.

Military values “are not just concepts but they are behavior,” Divine said, adding “these values…are going to be very important for our world in the near future.”

“When we commit to something, then that commitment creates an energetic effect…that changes the future for you. What I came to learn in the SEALS is that you don’t commit to something unless you fully intend to complete the mission.” Courage, Divine added, “is the willingness to uphold your commitment regardless of the consequences, and honor is when “you commit your heart to the action when you know the consequence are going to be severe.””It was the lack of honor that I saw in the professional environment,” he said. “Let me just say that we have some issues (in this country) and they largely are the result of a value system that has just lost its anchor and it lacks honor.”

Referring to the OMF Cares newly launched “After the Hug” campaign, which aims to provide a wide range of support services — from education to health care to housing assistance — to returning veterans, Divine offered an important way that community members can assist: “to understand the great gift that they (veterans) hold in their hearts to truly embody honor, courage and commitment and let them come into a community of professionals who haven’t had that experience.” Allowing veterans to provide that perspective “could be transformative” to society, he added.

“I encourage you all to think not with pity, not with a sense of that this is a group that is downtrodden or deserving of special attention, but rather look at the extraordinary gift or example that these warriors can provide to us as a nation and how we can step into the breach and help everyone begin to learn and embody honor, courage and commitment,” Divine said.

  1. I truly appreciated his “reorganizing” the code I adopted…”Honor, Courage, & Commitment” to to read “Commitment, Courage and Honor.” His explanation as to why he believes this was right on.

    Mark your calendars for November 11, 2015…this was just the kick-off.

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