Meet the Newest Cohort of 2020 Clay Hunt Fellows

These 12 military veterans have been selected for Base Camp 3 and will take part in six months of self-realization and leadership training.

Not even a global pandemic can stop the Fellows of Base Camp 3. This year, the entire program will take place remotely, but the spirit of Clay will live on. Each member of the cohort will undertake six months of leadership and disaster response training that will challenge them to discover their strengths and develop a deeper understanding of themselves. Through readings, discussions, and guided self-awareness exercises that focus on the experience of life out of uniform, they will emerge ready to lead in the field and in their lives. These fellows come to the program with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, but what they all have in common, and what they share with Clay, is a desire to continue serving others. 

Meet the Clay Hunt Fellows of Base Camp 3: 

Danilo Abadilla
Kauai Administrator 
Branch: U.S. Army 
Greyshirt Since2013 
Education: Boston University 

Dan Abadilla enlisted for duty as a combat medic at the age of 17 and later transitioned into the Hawaii Army National Guard as an infantryman. After retiring as a platoon sergeant, he went on to serve in law enforcement. Now, he works as a high school substitute teacher for algebra and geometry. His most memorable Team Rubicon experience has been serving as Incident Commander on Operation Separate Kingdom. That operation took Greyshirts to remote parts of Hawaii where they had no reinforcements and were guided entirely by a remote IMT. Like he says, “You have to do what you can with what you got.” 

Reflection: Service is when we share what we havetime, talent, or treasureto those who have less, so they may be filled.

Erich Allman
Branch: U.S. Navy 
Greyshirt Since: 2018 
Education: National University, Southwestern Community College, Cal State Fullerton 

Erich “Doc” Allman served as a Navy Corpsman with the U.S. Marines from 1997–2006going on multiple deployments to Asia and the Middle East. Today, he lives in San Diego with his dog, Stark. Along with volunteering for Team Rubicon, Allman contributes his time and passion for helping others to the Wounded Warriors Project.  

Reflection: Service means being part of something bigger than myself, for the benefit of others and for the greater good. It is doing for others without wanting anything in return. It is natural to want to help others.

Preston Barker
NorCal Generalist–COVID-19 
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps 
Greyshirt Since2016 
Education: Bachelor’s in Organization Leadership from Brandman University 

Preston Barker served from 2009–2015 as a rifleman in the infantry as well as a Motor Transport line chief. During that time, he was deployed to Africa. These days Barker volunteers at the Vacaville Fire Protection District in Solano County, CA as a firefighter and EMT, rope rescue technician, and swiftwater rescue technician. Recently, Preston served as the logistics section chief at the Federal Medical Station in Santa Clara, CA in support of Team Rubicon’s nationwide medical response to COVID-19.

Reflection: My entire adult life has been spent wearing a uniform in service to others. Service to others is part of my identity and what gives my life meaning and purpose. As John Bunyan said, “You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

Justin Buckner
Branch: U.S. Army 
Greyshirt Since: 2017 
Education: Bachelor’s in Political Science, Master of Business Administration 

Justin Buckner joined the Army in 2003 and served for nine years as a scout and human intelligence collector. During that period, he deployed to Iraq three times and Afghanistan once. After transitioning to civilian life, Buckner focused on furthering his education. Upon graduation, he dove into the tech field working for companies such as Oracle and Adobe. Justin has two daughters and is married to his wife of 15 years, Weronika 

Reflection: Service is about helping others and working to make the world a better place. I feel that anyone with the means and abilities to help others less fortunate than themselves, should do so as much as possible. Imagine how many of the worlds problems could be solved if we all made service to others a cornerstone in our lives?

Eric Dunn
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps 
Greyshirt Since: 2019 
Education: Associate Degree in Criminal Justice, Rowan University

Eric Dunn served for four years as a USMC riflemandeploying to Iraq in 2006 and again in 2007. On his first tour Dunn acted as a point man and navigator, but after graduating from the Marine Corps’ Infantry Squad Leaders Course he became a patrol leader for combined American and Iraqi patrols. Since leaving the military, he has become a certified firefighter and EMT, learned to skydive, been ordained as a minister, and performed 11 weddings. Now, he’s working in the security industry and earning a bachelor’s degree in history. 

Reflection: Service is about putting others before yourself and helping out where you can, when you can. Keeps you humble and puts life in perspective.

Keith Leung
Southwest Territory Mobilization Lead 
Branch: U.S. Navy 
Greyshirt Since: 2016 
Education: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 

Keith Leung served as an Information Professional Officer, starting in communications systems management and network security before transitioning into project management. His first Team Rubicon deployment was on Operation Hard Hustle in response to Hurricane Harvey. Leung has been a volunteer leader ever since, deploying to 10 operations and holding various command and general staff positions. Right now, he’s on Team Rubicon’s Incident Management Team as a technology specialist. 

Reflection: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted that there are still so many helpers- so many caring people in this world.” Fred Rogers 

Tara Patterson
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Greyshirt Since: 2019 
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Management 

Tara Patterson served in the USMC from 2011–2015 as a radio operator in an artillery regiment. Since leaving active duty, she has continued to serve others as a trauma-informed yoga teacher, caseworker, and the Nashville platoon leader for The Mission Continues. A Minnesota native, she now resides in Tennessee with her husband, John, and daughter, Belle. 

Reflection: If you’re able to make someone’s life better or lighten their load in anyway, it is your duty to do so. A service-driven life is one of purpose and an opportunity to create the kind of world you want to live in. 

Elizabeth Saunders
Tulsa Administrator 
Branch: U.S. Navy 
Greyshirt Since2019 
Education: Master’s in Digital Anthropology from University College London 

Elizabeth Saunders enlisted in 2003, and after initially being stationed in Naples, Italy she served aboard the USS Pinckney out of San Diego. She was honorably discharged in 2008 and now teaches global corporate innovation and entrepreneurship programs. Currently, she is reading “The Myth of the Nice Girl” by Fran Hauser.  

Reflection: To me, service means being mindful that we are all on this earth together; at times we need to help others and at other times we need to accept help so we can all move forward on this grand journey we call life. 

Robert Schwartz
Branch: U.S. Air Force 
Greyshirt Since: 2019
Education: Master’s in American History and Government from Ashland University  

Robert Schwartz, who goes by Bob, served in the U.S. Air Force’s Security Forces, spending most of his career in nuclear security with deployments to Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Currently, he lives in Houston and enjoys teaching high school social sciences. 

Reflection: The world is a rough place and we’re all in this together. Service is the way to make good on the duty each of us has to make the world better for one another.

Kyle Shutic
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps 
Greyshirt Since: 2016 
Education: University of Houston-Downtown, Texas A&M University 

Kyle Shutic served in communications on deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. After the military, he started a career in the oil and gas industry working to improve human factors like behavior and performance. Shutic joined Team Rubicon after the 2016 floods in his hometown of Houston, when he visited forward operating base that Greyshirts responding had set up in the parking lot of a local Home DepotHe never left.  

Reflection: Service is the apex of transformation and a gift that you have to give to others. Putting your time, talents, and energy towards helping others is what the human experience is about. We were never meant to do this alone. 

Peter Varney
Anchorage Planning Coordinator 
Branch: U.S. Air Force 
Greyshirt Since: 2019 
Education: University of Alaska Anchorage 

Pete Varney served for over seven years, first as a registered nurse in the SICU, MICU, and PACU at Walter Reed Hospital, then as an ICU nurse and executive officer at Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson. Additionally, he took a six-month non-combat deployment providing medical support at the Aeromedical Staging Facility at Andrew’s Air Force Base. Varney says the most rewarding experiences from his career have been caring for critically injured warriors and their families, and training Navy Corpsmen to treat wounded patients in the field.  

Reflection: When I joined Team Rubicon, I was isolated and overcome with despondency. There was that one person who reached out and I knew they “got it.” At my first op, I was grateful to find a conduit to channel positive energy and drown out the negative noise. Through service, I got out of my head and felt the impact of altruistic actions. 

Christopher Waters 
Denver Planning Coordinator 
Branch: U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force 
Greyshirt Since: 2017 
Education: Red Rocks Community College, Air Force Noncommissioned Officer Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Training Center 

Christopher Waters served seven years active duty as an operations specialist and law enforcement officer. Most of his career was spent at sea while stationed in Alaska. There, he was a combat information center supervisor overseeing international search and rescue and law enforcement operations. Later, Waters was attached to the Maritime Security Response Team. After being honorably discharged from the Coast Guard in 2016, he transitioned into the U.S. Air Force Reserves as a security forces specialist. He is now enrolled at the University of Colorado Denver earning a degree in criminal justice. 

Reflection: Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Team Rubicon has done exactly that for me. I was in the Coast Guard from the age of 19, so my entire identity was wrapped up in this service. The second most difficult transition I have experienced in my life was deciding to leave the military, and Team Rubicon greatly eased that transition and gave me back my sense of purpose.