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The Company You Keep

April Burge

April is an Army veteran currently pursuing her Master's in Nursing from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining Team Rubicon, she also assisted with the Red Cross relief efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

I joined Team Rubicon to engage in camaraderie and to be around others who display selflessness. Surrounded by others in Texas willing to help and yearning for a sense of purpose, I found mine. It is refreshing to be around motivated people who, instead of asking “Are we done for the day?” ask “What’s next? What can we do to help?” I may have gotten a little dirty and sore, but I loved every minute of it.

April was one of more than 35 members who deployed to Bastrop, TX to provide wildfire relief.
April was one of more than 35 members who deployed to Bastrop, TX to provide wildfire relief.

Everyone is here to help. It isn’t about a sense of self righteousness, how much we are getting paid, or if it is your job to do something – it is about serving others whose lives were just dramatically changed. I know my life and sense of direction were altered by time spent with TR helping clean up after the devastation left behind by the Hidden Pines Fire in Bastrop, TX.

Region VI launched Operation: Gingerbread Man to conduct damage assessments, chainsaw operations, and debris management.
Region VI launched Operation: Gingerbread Man to conduct damage assessments, chainsaw operations, and debris management.

On my very first day of my first operation, I watched a team member open doors with a homeowner to begin work through her current devastation, share personal challenges from her past, and inspire hope for her veteran sister who is seemingly lost. These opportunities are invaluable, not only for the homeowner, but also for our volunteers. Many of us lost a sense of ourselves and resolve when we left the military. These interactions and sense of duty they instill help us recover our purpose.

These are the people I long to be around, and these are the type of friends I want to surround myself with. This is the type of work I want to do, and I look forward to my next opportunity to work alongside my new adopted family.