Since the start of the all-volunteer military force, both the Marine Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA have been sustained by volunteers.

My enlistment in the Marine Corps did not start my volunteer journey. It began shortly after I was baptized at age 9 through whatever needed to be done at church.

Both the Marine Corps and AmeriCorps-VISTA are small but powerful forces within larger organizations. The Navy and Corporation for National and Community Service respectively and occasionally joined with nearby sister groups like Coast Guard and Senior Corps to enhance the impact of missions.

I served 40 years in the US Armed forces, having served sea duty aboard the USS Midway and an AeroMed nurse in Air Force as well as a combat medic with Army. I retired from the military in 2016.

The twin stars Castor and Pollux stretch and act as floor support as I journey across time finding volunteer opportunities wherever I’ve been stationed or lived plus in communities around the world.

Wacinque BeMende

Wacinque BeMende

I learned I was born under the zodiac sign of Gemini on May 29 by my elementary school teacher who loved the space events sending up astronauts in programs Sputnik and Mercury. For me everything changed with the Gemini series that first launched 23 March 1965. She helped me celebrate my birthday as Tennessee schools did not end for summer until after June 7 as I stayed intensely focused on Gemini through the last flight which landed 10 flights later November 15, 1966. She encouraged and inspired me to become an avid newspaper reader by following the Gemini flight news through the summer.

AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program that has been working to alleviate poverty in America since 1965. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve full-time at non-profit organizations or local government agencies focusing on impactful projects that lift people out of poverty while receiving comprehensive training and support.

Since its inception, more than 200,000 individuals have served with AmeriCorps VISTA. Socorro also has Senior Corps volunteers.

Wearing many hats was often the military norm and needed so today as New Mexico Tech moves from STEM to STE²M® with the second E being Entrepreneurialism and Storm Force growing in force.

I have been involved in many roles during my lifetime. I am and have been a veteran entrepreneur, nurse, human services advocate education counselor, career counselor, student, AmeriCorps ambassador, Senior Corps volunteer, ACEs advocate, financial literacy educator, student club leader, veteran, financial maker innovator, retiree and an actor being involved in Telling Project production. Being involved in many of these areas has helped develop my career and life choices.

Both the Marine Corps and AmeriCorps support innovation. One such improvement or innovation will eradicate poverty through a service and product that provides income is owned by each individual and is self-directed plus the principle is permanent. An account is created prenatal and bequeath at transition. This account would not be supported by taxes or debt.

Imagine this reality can only become the norm with widespread collective impact effort and soon you may help this become the norm in Socorro and Socorro County as the fruit of all the efforts working towards that collective in the coming weeks, month and year.

If you’d like more information on AmeriCorps VISTA program or how to become a volunteer with AmeriCorps Vista email Wacinque BeMende at or call him at 575-571-6595.