On October 18, members of Team Rubicon SoCal converged on a private campsite in Acton, California for an overnight trip that overflowed with camaraderie, hearty laughs, and newfound personal connections. While not your standard TR relief operation, preparatory skills for disaster relief were also provided in the form of chainsaw training.
Another attendee added, “I nearly didn’t come to this because I have no desire to meet new people and have a hard time relating to others. I usually don’t feel comfortable outside of my own home and prefer to hermit. After the first few minutes of introductions on day one, I felt safe for the first time in weeks.”
I often hear this same feeling reflected within the veteran community. The constant difficulty of relating to others, specifically those who have always been civilians, casts a conspicuous shadow.
I like to refer to this sentiment as the “Superman Dilemma.” Much like Superman’s struggle with his everyday identity as Clark Kent, many returning soldiers find it difficult to claim their civilian identity.
While Superman is a storied figure, fearlessly fighting for good and always prepared to save the day, Clark Kent is an under-the-radar introvert and mundane outsider who finds it difficult to connect with his peers. I feel this parallels the experience of numerous veterans, who once also fearlessly fought for good, yet are now attempting to re-integrate into civilian life and find connections with people who don’t share their same experience of war.
Team Rubicon not only exists to provide disaster relief services but also opportunities for veterans to connect with one another and regain some sense of the brother and sisterhood left behind on the battlefield. Furthermore, they’re connecting with civilian members who care about service and want to learn more about their experiences.
Just as Team Rubicon finds a way to bring a feeling of safety, a feeling of home back to disaster-stricken areas, it also brings that sense of home back to those who’ve been away for much too long. It brings back the brotherhood and a sense of belonging – of seeking to be a part of something greater than yourself.