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You Are Capable of Far More Than You Can Imagine

Abbey Dieteman

Abbey hails from New York where she manages her own technology consulting firm. She joined the team in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and has since deployed on multiple operations and serves as a certified chainsaw instructor with TR.

When I was 12 years old, my dad put me up on a tin roof in Kentucky with a hammer and a bucket of tar. We were repairing homes in what became a yearly trip to one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the country.

This would hardly be described as a dream summer vacation for a middle-school girl, but it set the stage for the rest of my life, for decades of disaster response, and for eventually, 20 years later, serving with Team Rubicon.

That summer I formed two viewpoints on life that have carried through the years and the miles:

  1. You are capable of far more than you can imagine.
  2. The best gift you can give yourself is to serve others.
Abbey deployed to Houston as a sawyer to assist residents affected by severe weather.
Abbey deployed to Houston as a sawyer to assist residents affected by severe weather.

Now, as one of the “OGs” in the organization (which, I’ve found, is loosely defined as being a member prior to the Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes of May 2013), it’s now my goal to find a way to pass these lessons on to as many Greyshirts as possible.

I see it in every chainsaw training class. And I see it in every operation.

There’s something about that first morning on your first op. And there’s nothing better than sitting back and watching a confused FNG try to find his strike team leader and get handed his first shirt and hat. And then, watching the same guy at lunchtime with a nickname written in Sharpie on that no-longer-crisp grey T-shirt. He’s now part of the team.

Also serving as a Sawyer 1 Instructor for TR, Abbey helps teach fellow Greyshirts how to safely operate a chainsaw in the field.
Also serving as a Sawyer 1 Instructor for TR, Abbey helps teach fellow Greyshirts how to safely operate a chainsaw in the field.

Every operation brings its lessons and its challenges. For me, Op Moonshot was no different. As I stepped into new and exciting roles with Team Rubicon, my flaws were exposed in spectacular fashion. I fell into my rhythm and style as a leader and found what works for others doesn’t always work for me.

As Houston pushed my physical and emotional limits, I learned two things:

ONE: I am capable of far more than I can imagine.

and

TWO: The best gift I can give myself is to serve others.