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Find Purpose, Push Forward in 2015

Jonathan Chiang

Veteran US Army Officer Jonathan Chiang currently serves as the NorCal Communications Coodinator for Team Rubicon – Region 9.

What a year!

Happy Holidays, TR Nation! As we celebrate this holiday season at home with our friends and family, it has brought me a whole new chapter of happy memories to cherish, as I’m sure it has for many in the Team Rubicon family.

Whew, it’s been quite a year for me. I deployed on my first operation (Frozen Oak), finally finished graduate school with my master’s degree in hand, and promptly moved straight across the country to an unfamiliar area and into a stressful stretch assignment job.

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New experiences can be daunting, just like many of us learned in the military. Moving across the country and starting a new career can hardly be compared to a full military deployment overseas, but with no friends and family in the immediate area, it can make the experience tough for many of us who depend on others for that personal support and thus struggle without it. Personally, I thrive when I have a good group of friends as a support system, so I wasn’t the biggest fan of my new situation. Quite frankly, I felt a bit lost.

When Team Rubicon deployed in support of the Pateros, WA wildfires in late July and August, I had only been living in California for 2 ½ weeks, but I jumped on this opportunity to help out and be around people again. The faces and expressions of those we helped are still as fresh of a memory as the moment I saw them.

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It was so satisfying again to be around veterans, doing awesome work, helping struggling people, and serving again. It was really those memories that make everything we do in Team Rubicon worth every drop of sweat. It felt so good to make new friends from across California, the country, and even the world, as well as reconnect with old ones. It allowed me to stop my personal sulk fest and push forward with a solid sense of renewal, accomplishment, and purpose, as well as waking away with friends for life. Awesome!

Team Rubicon has been a truly integral part of my experience this year, and not only have I made huge strides in my personal development, but I have a renewed attitude and awareness to veteran issues and struggles. I carry myself into 2015 with a mission to bring the focus, purpose, and camaraderie that Team Rubicon has given me and help spread that to other veterans and first responders who may need it.

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For those looking to apply their skills and experience, I urge you to join or support Team Rubicon. You will gain friendships and satisfaction that will profoundly change your life for the better, as it has done for mine. And I’d like to give a special shout-out to the donors because none of our training or operations would be possible without your continued support.

I’m excited to see what this new year will bring, and the new experiences that are surely coming!