What Team Rubicon Is – Personal Reflection from Marine and Region X Director of Personnel and Training Paul Warmbier
Out of all the organizations out there that exist to help others, Team Rubicon is without equal. My experiences with Team Rubicon have been quite simply lifesaving. Over the last nine months, I have served the almost four hundred Northwest volunteers as the Personnel and Training Director for the Northwest region. In those last nine months, I have been challenged in ways I have not seen since patrolling the streets of Fallujah, Iraq.
You see, I spent four years in the Marine Corps infantry. I traveled Iraq over two very different tours of duty, and I grew from an eighteen-year-old child with no responsibility, to a leader of men with the lives of others in the palm of my hand. The power, responsibility and self-purpose I felt at that time was one that I loved and cherished. When I was discharged, after my four years were up, I went to college like many other listless veterans. What I found were know-it-all children, and sarcastic professors. The change was overwhelming to say the least. I needed a cause and a purpose.
There is a kind of god like power in serving a cause bigger than yourself. There is an adrenaline fueled high when you are operating with a specific mission in mind. When veterans get home, they lose that. I watched helplessly as friends lost new battles with their own minds. This was something I had never contemplated, and quite honestly, I still am terrified by this warfare. In response, all fought back, but even some of the strongest were overcome and ended the suffering and lost themselves both physically and mentally.
With a frantic hope to help stem the tide, I jumped into Team Rubicon. I realized that Rubicon’s mission is not simply disaster relief, but equally, it is to give these returning veterans a new weapon with which to fight back. They are once again able to advance on the enemy, and overcome it through a new identity, not as a regular civilian, but as volunteer. I recently had the privilege of leading many of these veteran volunteers on a mission of hope and reconstruction in the destroyed towns of New Jersey.
What I found is that Team Rubicon is not merely another program that gives people the tools they can use. Rubicon is the tool itself. In my experience, veterans cross their own Rubicon when they participate in disaster relief. Team Rubicon is that line of departure that becomes a one-way street in the right direction. When veterans come and help their fellow men and women, I realized these actions are why I signed up for the military to do in the first place. We signed up to help humankind out of its plight and in turn, Team Rubicon helps us out of our own void.
I guess what Team Rubicon has given me in plain terms is the opportunity to help both, those inflicted with loss of property and hope, and those who have lost themselves. I can help those who need it the most in both capacities. In so doing, I am helping fill my own emptiness with the same feeling that sustained me in the Marines. To me, I have been given an opportunity to serve once more. That, plain and simple, is what Team Rubicon offers, and what my experience has been; it is service and a deeper meaning, purpose and self-worth. Without which, I cannot imagine a meaningful life.