Selfless service – that was the heart of the message delivered by Brodi Pursley during a special Veterans Day ceremony held Monday at Missouri Southern.

“It’s one of the most rewarding values a person can have … to put yourself aside and help someone else,” he said.

A former MSSU student, Pursley is one of the founders of True North Enterprises, which works to bridge the gap between military and civilian leadership.

He enlisted in the Army in 2000, shortly after graduating from Carthage High School. He served in the 112th Signal Battalion, the only special operations communications battalions at the time, and was a fast tactical satellite communications operator. He was part of four deployments, including combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After his service, Pursley said he didn’t find the purpose he needed in his civilian employment.

“I didn’t take the initial leap forward until I got together with a couple of my veteran buddies who really understood where I was at,” he said. “When we discussed doing this, it was really inviting and we knew it would be hard work, but it fulfilled that sense of purpose of needing to help our community and help veterans.”

Located in Neosho, True North Enterprises offers classes to businesses and individuals that are designed to promote communication and team building, leadership skills, and planning and achieving goals. But it’s only one component of the work they do with veterans.

Brotherhood of Warriors is a veteran-based nonprofit that offers a variety of programs. From mentorship to housing and community outreach, Pursley said the organization works to meet veterans where they are and provide assistance for a variety of needs.

“We work to improve veterans’ lives as a whole, helping them get back on the right path to success,” he said.

Their latest endeavor is Tommyhawks, an axe house where visitors can “put the phones down, learn how to throw hatchets and just have fun.”

Pursely said he was honored to be invited to speak to campus veterans, community members and Missouri Southern students who are part of Show Me Gold – the Missouri Army National Guard’s leadership program.

“It was an honor and a privilege to talk to this caliber of young adults who are stepping onto this path,” he said. “I’d like to link up with them in the future to see how they’re doing and where they’re headed.”