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Healing Through Shared Moments with Those We Serve

Team Rubicon is filled with a wealth of individuals with a vast array of experience in many fields of expertise. With that experience comes a personal story. Each of us has a story, ones made up of our successes and failures, good days and bad days, and tragedies and celebrations.

Edwin Marsalis is deployed on Operation Iron Bird in Hattiesburg, MS in response to an EF-3 tornado.

We meet people who are possibly experiencing the worst days of their lives. Their lives have taken a tragic turn in a very short period of time, and they don’t have anywhere to direct their sorrows and grief. They really don’t want to hear about someone else’s problems; they have enough tribulations to deal with on their own.

Volunteers are conducting chainsaw operations and debris removal for affected residents in Hattiesburg, MS.

Team Rubicon enters the picture with a fresh face from the “outside world” along with a fresh set of ears and compassion to allow them to share their story so they can begin to heal. They draw TR volunteers into their world, allowing them to temporarily escape their own. They give our team – comprised of combat veterans, EMTs, emergency managers, and other service-minded and battle-tested individuals – an opportunity to share our story and begin a process of healing. We are open to listening because while we haven’t suffered the same fate, we may be able to explain how we dealt with a similar or possibly an entirely different situation in another decade or in another place.

We are both healing: Team Rubicon volunteers with stored grief and residents affected by disaster experiencing a newly imposed hardship.

Healing can be accomplished without ever lifting a hammer, saw, or shovel. It requires no physical strength or particular dexterity. It is a special moment shared that creates a more positive impact than any physical activities we will perform. We are TR Nation!

This reflection is inspired by a conversation I had with my TR mentor. He instilled this in me the day I met him, and I will never forget it. It comes to life with my every TR encounter; on the FOB and in the field.

Edwin Marsalis

Edwin Marsalis, Jr. is a retired Air Force officer who serves as the Mississippi State Field Operations Coordinator with Team Rubicon.