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Fix Yourself!

Anthony Baerga

Anthony Baerga was born in the Bronx , New York. He came from a military family going back to the 1800s. After high school he was talked into joining the Navy where he went to Corpsman school and proceeded to join the 7th Fleet. Although he was too dumb to join the SEALs, he was recruited to the next best thing: a six-man Vessel Board Search and Seizure (AKA Snoopy Team or SWCC) team conducting special operations and supporting Navy SEALs throughout the Persian Gulf and other parts around the world. Too old and too bruised to fight, he currently holds a Public Education Officer position at the the Angel’s Gate Coast Guard base where he teaches navigation, coxswain classes, and other small boat safety courses.

So I’m sitting on the couch watching God knows what on television and the headline reads: Team Rubicon Military Veterans Join Philippines Typhoon Relief tonight at 10:00.

Here I am, an old veteran sitting on the couch with food that’s made a second home on my shirt and I’m thinking, “I should check this place out. And what the hell’s with the name?”

I immediately jumped to my computer and visited the website. I signed up as a volunteer in Roll Call, and literally the next day I was supporting an international relief operation at Team Rubicon Headquarters, mainly helping with logistics and office improvements. I was so excited and immediately welcomed with open arms.

A couple months later, I was hired to work for the best organization in the world and I’ve never looked back. I worked my butt off to try to impress this high-speed outfit of kick-ass civilians and squared away vets. It’s tough to stand out in this team where everyone – from the director of field operations to the membership interns – are extremely busy making a difference in the world. Same goes for our volunteers we serve in the field.

TR staff and interns making bold decisions
TR staff and interns making bold decisions online. 

One day, our CEO Jake Wood pulled me in his office, because our Internet connectivity was FUBAR and it fell on my shoulders. He chewed me out (in a loving way of course), but when an organization that prides itself on responding quickly can’t even return an email, tensions were high. The last thing I remember were the words, “Fix yourself!”

Since that day, I was motivated to make better decisions, keep healthy, and continue to fight for a greater cause. At Team Rubicon, we lean forward and make bold decisions. Sometimes, those decisions don’t lead to the outcome we expect, but we push through and adapt, and we certainly don’t make the same mistake twice. Jake and the rest of the TRibe have been an inspiration to me, and I thank every single one of you for helping me get better mentally and physically.

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All hands meeting when a serious threat rears its head in the Pacific.