Meet The Next Cohort of Clay Hunt Fellows That Will Continue to Rebuild Houston
Team Rubicon Announces Cohort 19-1(H)
When Team Rubicon became an established 501(c)(3) in 2010, our mission was to deploy skilled, experienced military veterans and medical professionals to disaster zones abroad. From 2010–2011, we deployed to Haiti, South Sudan, the Thai/Burma border, Pakistan, and Chile. When one of the eight original members of Team Rubicon, Clay Hunt, took his life in 2011, TR recognized a need to engage our veterans and serve our communities right here at home.
In 2012, Team Rubicon developed a year-long fellowship in Clay’s name, inviting veterans to heal and challenge themselves through continued service. Since then, 47 fellows have graduated from the fellowship. Team Rubicon currently has three active cohorts: six, seven, and eight. Cohort six has been focused on rebuilding Houston, TX following Hurricane Harvey. So far, this cohort has successfully put 20 families back in their homes. The next cohort, seven, has been focused on rebuilding Collier County, FL following Hurricane Irma and has placed 10 families back in their homes. Cohort 19-1(H)* will step into the arena in Houston, TX and continue the work of bringing Houston families home. This team will push Team Rubicon closer to our goal of rebuilding 100 homes in Houston.
Atheel Al Aquel
U.S. Army, 2005-2009
U.S. Army Reserves 2010-2013
Atheel served in the U.S. Army as a 19D Cavalry Scout Assault Team member and leader. In the U.S. Army Reserves, he served as a 37F Psychological Operations Specialist as a Team Chief, Unit Prevention Leader, and Foreign Language Program Manager.
Resides in: Indianapolis, IN
Currently: New Horizons Associate Program Business Administration student.
Education: Atheel graduated from Ivy Tech Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration in 2013. In 2016, he graduated from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis Kelley School of Business with a Bachelor of Science in Business.
“Service is giving one’s time, effort, energy, and commitment to an organization for a greater purpose to support a group, organization, or community in need.”
U.S. Army, 2001-2005
Served in the Signal Corps and deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Resides in: Elmira, NY
Currently: On a seasonal break from fighting and mitigating wildfires with the U.S. Forest Service.
Education: Studied information technology and network design at Corning Community College in Corning, NY.
“Service is helping others in time of need and not expecting anything in return.
Tomás De Oliveira
U.S. Marine Corps, 2009-2016
Served with HML/A-269 as a Flight Equipment Certified Duty Inspector tasked with “safe-for-flight” sign-off authority deploying in support of OEF-11. Later volunteered for Marine Security Guard duty serving as military internal security supervisor of operations from 2013-2016 in Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Russia. Tomás is currently serving in the reserves as a Flight Equipment Technician on the V-22 Osprey with VMM-764, and tasked with the professional development of all reserve component Marines in his section.
Resides in: Los Angeles, CA
Currently: Tomás is a Residential Property Manager for Atlantic 2 LLC, and is Student Veteran Liaison for Pasadena City College’s Veterans Resource Center.
Education: Enrolled at Pasadena City College working towards his Bachelor of Science in Engineering.
“I couldn’t stand by as my fellow Americans’ lives were washed away by Hurricane Harvey, Americans I’d sworn to protect. Right away, I signed up to deploy to Wharton with Team Rubicon. There I performed muck-outs and teardowns, but this fellowship gives me the opportunity to finish the job and rebuild. I want to help these people put their lives back together.”
U.S. Coast Guard, 2004-2008 Served the US Coast Guard as a Marine Science Technician conducting foreign freight vessel inspections in the port of Boston.
Resides in: Friendswood, TX
Currently: Erik is currently serving as the Kallestad family operations manager where he manages the daily routines of his two children while supporting and guiding them in their journey to adulthood. Erik started volunteering with TR in September and is looking forward to a great year with Cohort 19-1(H)!
Education: Erik earned his vocational certification as a Commercial Diver from the Diver’s Academy of the Eastern Seaboard in 1999 and holds an associate’s degree in engineering science from Middlesex Community College.
“I’ll put everything on hold to help out someone in need, it’s just something I’ve always done.”
U.S. Marine Corps, 2001-2013
Ginger did six years active and six years inactive in the Marine Corps with three deployments to Iraq and one tour to Afghanistan. She held three different billets and wouldn’t change a thing about her time in service.
Resides in: Mechanicsville, VA
Currently: Ginger most recently worked for Samaritan’s Purse as a DART (disaster assistance response team) member.
Education: Holds a Bachelor of Arts in intercultural studies/international development from Biola University in Mirada, CA
“Service to me is opportunity to reflect on what I have and find a way to give back to others. I think it ultimately comes down to being grateful for what you have.”
U.S. Marine Corps, 2007-2015
Served as an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighter (ARFF) and later as a Marine Security Guard (MSG). As an MSG, Dylan was entrusted with the position to safeguard national security in U.S. Embassies all around the world and protect the personnel inside.
Resides in: Pyeongtaek, South Korea
Home of Residence: Utica, KS
Currently: Dylan is a carpenter for ALLCOMGS where he directs and supervises laborers and construction aids in addition to constructing top-notch structures and fixtures.
Education: Received his Associate of Arts in 2016 from the American Military University. He also earned a Carpentry/Cabinetmaking certification from North Central Kansas TECH that same year.
“The opportunity to serve again gives me the chance to bring hope to people that thought it was gone and give those affected by tragedy the strength to push through the upcoming storms.”
U.S. Army, 1992-2018
Culminated 26 years of service as the Command Sergeant Major of the 91st Military Police Battalion out of Fort Drum, NY. Christopher was responsible for the law enforcement of the Fort Drum community and oversaw military police operations for an 837 personnel military police battalion. Conducted three combat deployments and several non-combat deployments in support of military police operations.
Resides in: Seabrook, TX
Currently: Christopher is a retired Army Command Sergeant Major.
Education: Earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Purdue University in 2018. Graduated from the United States Army Sergeants Major Course Class 64.
“Service means getting out and doing something that does not benefit you, but is tremendously beneficial to others. There is nothing better in life than knowing that your actions assisted someone in need and helped make their life a little easier. Service is a way to stay humble by giving back to others and expecting nothing in return.“
U.S. Air Force, 1990-2013
Joined the Air Force directly out of nursing school. Her background includes numerous nursing duties from the intensive care unit, primary care, as well as multiple nurse manager and flight commander roles. She deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She retired in 2013 after 23 years of service.
Resides in: Castle Rock, CO
Currently: Prior to joining Team Rubicon, Cindy worked as an in-house nursing supervisor, volunteered as a Court Appointment Special Advocate (CASA) for abused or neglected children, and volunteered as a driver for The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery Program.
Education: In addition to holding a Bachelors of Science in nursing from the University of Rhode Island, Cindy also holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Regis University.
“Service means doing all you can to improve someone’s position or outlook while treating them with respect and dignity. To serve someone is to make their world better in some way. It means advocating for the welfare of the individual while looking out for the needs of the community. It’s what you do because it’s the right thing. I feel it’s my duty to do what I can for as many as I can.”
U.S. Army, 2011-2015
Sam was a second-class diver in the army. He did both surface-supplied hardhat diving and SCUBA while assigned to the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Sam also worked on multiple jobs with DPAA to recover service members lost in past conflicts in addition to conducting a few underwater construction jobs.
Resides in: New Albany, IN
Currently: Works as a Youth Development Specialist for St. Vincent de Paul.
Education: Sam is earning a Bachelor of Science in social work from the University of Louisville and will graduate in December of 2018.
“Service is doing what you are capable of in order to help other people while also stepping into the arena when the situation calls for it.
U.S. Army National Guard, 1997-2006
Kevin served in the Army National Guard as a 14S Air Defense Artilleryman manning mobile surface to air missile delivery vehicles. Later, he attended Chaplains Assistant training and finally, he served as a 63W diesel mechanic. In this role, he participated in multiple operations from 1999-2004 including Noble Eagle and in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 1-3.
Resides In: Snowmass, CO
Currently: Kevin works for Snowmass Lodging Guest Services.
Education: In 2007, Kevin earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from Fort Lewis College. He also holds a Master of Arts in criminal justice from Colorado State University in Greenwood Village, CO.
“My heroes, Thic Nhat Hanh and Miyamoto Musashi, taught me that service is absolute loyalty combined with humility and compassion.”
Army National Guard, 2008-2014
Served as a Team leader in a Chemical Company which was part of the Homeland Emergency Response Force, dedicated to training and responding to natural or man-made disasters stateside. He was also attached to a Military Police battalion serving as base security on an overseas deployment.
Resides in: St. Louis, MO
Currently: In addition to volunteering with Team Rubicon, David also volunteers his time to teach Yoga to Veterans and first responders in the local community. He is a Crew Leader for Classical Gardens where he instructs and guides a team.
Education: Holds a Bachelor of Science in criminology with a minor in psychology and sociology from the University of Missouri- St. Louis.
“My time in the military allowed me to personally experience the profound feeling of unity an individual can have when joined in effort with others in pursuit of a common goal. I believe that meaning comes from taking responsibility for one’s own life and for the mark that they leave on the world.”
*As of November 2018, Team Rubicon has implemented a new naming method for the cohorts of the Clay Hunt Fellows Program.
Cohort year-sequential number of the cohort that year (physical location of the cohort)