I am not a veteran. I am not a professional first responder. I don’t fight fires, perform surgeries, or wear a badge while keeping our communities safe. I don’t have battle stories to share from time in a uniform, and I can’t say that I’ve overcome the struggles of reintegration or pretend to understand what that struggle feels like. I don’t.
I am your everyday civilian. When I joined Team Rubicon – whose collective resume includes positions like Captain, Intel Specialist, US Navy Pilot, First Lieutenant, and Scout Sniper, I wondered if I really deserved a place here. I wondered if I would be trusted, respected, or even liked here. I am humbled to look back on the last year (almost) and say I have never felt more included or been as easily accepted as I was on this team.
TR is a big family. Like many families, we’re all different but the same in many ways. We have disagreements and may even be dysfunctional at times; and we are made up of both veterans and civilians. Like the best families, we have each others’ backs and always look out for the family as whole before ourselves as individuals.
I’ve learned that where we gained our experiences and skills sets separates us less than how we apply them on a daily basis. The people I work with are smart and passionate employees and volunteers. They are planners and executers who show up every day with one goal in mind – serving TR Nation’s members and communities. Our backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives are different, but our goal remains the same. In fact, I think our differences make us such a successful organization.
I deployed to Arkansas in May of this year in support of Operation: Rising Eagle. I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I revisited some of my insecurities from when I first joined TR – would I fit in, would they trust me, and respect me? Once again, I was blown away by how easy it was to blend and work toward a common goal. My team showed me how to use equipment I’ve never seen before. Rather than set me off to the side, they took time to teach me how to be effective, and how to have an impact in the neighborhoods we worked in. They gave me nicknames and teased me the way my own brothers do, shared their varying backgrounds, experiences, and stories with me, and let me into their lives. I felt like I was part of a giant buddy system – I felt part of the family.
Long story short, a year ago I wondered if I had a place at Team Rubicon as a civilian. I know now I have a place at Team Rubicon because I share the passion for the mission. TR’s headquarters team and its national members made a place for me, as they would a veteran, a professional first responder, a medic, a fire fighter, or anyone else, and I am so grateful for that and this crazy family.
Sound like a mission you can get behind? Get on the team.