Back to Blog

Team Rubicon Announces Cohort 6 of the Clay Hunt Fellows Program

13 Veterans Selected to Lead Pilot Recovery Program in Houston

 

Team Rubicon names 13 veterans to Cohort 6 of its Clay Hunt Fellows Program, a year-long training and leadership program developed in honor of original member Clay Hunt (1982-2011). Cohort 6 was built in the wake of Harvey, as this team will lead the organization’s pilot recovery program in Clay’s hometown of Houston and rebuild homes impacted by the hurricane.

Nearly 300 veterans applied for the fellowship, and of the 13 selected, eight are Houston residents while the other five will relocate to the area. These Fellows, unlike previous cohorts, will serve as full-time employees of Team Rubicon for a full year beginning in February 2018. They will be tasked with leading the efforts on the ground as the organization trains and engages volunteers in recovery work downrange. Cohort 6 will also participate in YouSchool, a self-discovery program designed to help Fellows develop goals in achieving a successful life and transition after their time in uniform.

 

Team Rubicon is Proud to Introduce Cohort 6 of the Clay Hunt Fellows Program:

 

Jason Asnes
U.S. Navy, 2010-2015
Served as a Hospital Corpsman skilled in working with a broad range of medical conditions and managing treatments for patients in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
Resides in: Sugar Land, TX
Currently: Jason most recently was a Medical Assistant for QTC Management in Houston, TX. He joined Team Rubicon in the midst of Hurricane Harvey.
Education: Jason completed multiple courses with the U.S. Navy at Hospital Corps School and Field Medical Training Battalion at Camp Johnson, NC. He also received certifications in Basic Life Saving and Tactical Combat Casualty Care. Most recently, he completed a ten-week course in cyber security at New Horizons Computer Learning Center in Houston, TX.
My five years in the Navy were the best experience of my life, and when I separated, I never knew how drastically my life would change. There are a lot of reasons people join the military – the desire to serve their country is usually on that list, and when you’re no longer wearing your country’s colors, it’s an odd feeling. I never thought I’d get back that sense of pride you get by putting on the uniform, but Team Rubicon has restored that, giving me the opportunity to not only serve my local community but also aid in disaster relief around the globe.”

 

Jose Avila
U.S. Air Force, 2008-2011; Texas Air National Guard, 2011-2014
Jose served as an engineering technician and project manager at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and spent three years with the Texas Air National Guard based in San Antonio.
Resides in: Houston, TX
Currently: Jose most recently served as the General Manager at the J&J Collision Center in Houston, TX. He joined Team Rubicon in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
EducationJose received his Associate’s Degree in Construction Technology at the Community College of the Air Force. He also completed multiple entrepreneurial and project management-oriented programs and is currently participating in the Six Sigma Green Belt Fundamentals Course through Syracuse University.
“Service is about fulfilling my purpose in life. I believe we can all be of service to others in one way or another, no matter how far we’ve fallen in life. It means looking past our own troubles and seeing that we can make a big impact in the life of somebody else in need.”

 

Brian Calcagno
California Army National Guard, 2008-2017
Served as an Operations Officer in the California Army National Guard and as a Flight Company Commander of an Air Assault Company.
Resides in: Healdsburg, CA
Currently: Project Engineer for TerraCon Constructors, Inc. located in Healdsburg, CA. Brian joined Team Rubicon in May of 2014, and his first operation was close to home on Op Great Pumpkin in 2017.
EducationIn 2007, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology, and in 2012, he earned a Master of Arts Degree in Education. Both degrees were obtained from California Polytechnic State University.
Service has always been an important part of my life. My parents provided a wonderful example of what it meant to give back to your community and were always willing to raise their hand to help. I’ve found that nothing is more rewarding than the giving of yourself for the benefit of others. After my first operation with Team Rubicon, I knew I found my home; my TRibe. Not since joining the military had I been so proud to wear the colors of an organization.”

 

Courtney Collum
U.S. Coast Guard, 2009-2013
Courtney completed a four-year enlistment with a six-month extension as a Petty Officer Damage Controlman. She was responsible for training and leading firefighting teams, welding, plumbing, carpentry, CBR, and gas-free engineering.
Resides in: Phoenix, AZ
Currently: Courtney most recently worked for the Veteran’s Education and Transit Center where her primary role was to provide general information regarding education benefits and campus services for veterans. Courtney joined Team Rubicon in May of 2017.
EducationCurrently enrolled at the University of Arizona where she is earning her Bachelor of Science in Geology Geosciences/Mining Engineering. She also has a degree in Supervisory Leadership AA General Studies & Business Management from Hawaii Pacific University, 2013.
“Knowing this nation is built on service, I have established a sense of moral obligation to unite and positively impact communities. Service can unpredictable; stepping into the arena while sacrificing your comforts for those in need. Offering my courage to help those even on their worst day, strengthens mine. Service has a striking way of showing us what really matters.”

 

Kirstin Daniels
U.S. Air Force, 2005-2014
Kirstin served as a Security Forces Craftsman. She was assigned to the 31st Security Forces Squadron at Aviano AB, Italy and the 377th Weapons System Security Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base. Kirstin also deployed on a four-month tour in Iraq at Joint Base Balad in 2008.
Resides in: Stafford, VA
Currently: Most recently, Kirstin was working in the service industry and an active member with Team Rubicon, including operation Hard Hustle in response to Hurricane Harvey where she served as Deputy Planning Section Chief.
EducationAwarded a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice with a focus in Forensic Science from the American Military University in 2016. Kirstin also obtained an Associates of Applied Science in Criminal Justice from the Community College of the Air Force in 2013. She was recently accepted to the University of New Haven as a graduate student where she is pursuing her Master’s in Emergency Management.
“For me, service is part passion and part taking on a challenge; being bold and willing to step into the arena. It’s about giving my all to help others while others sit on the sidelines. It’s about having compassion and humility. It is the placing of service to others in order to grow the ‘greater whole’ above my own selfish wants. It is being a perpetual student in order to widen my knowledge base. It’s taking the skills I’ve learned while in the Air Force, as a student, and a parent and applying them. It is the tenacity to rise to the challenge and move past it both as an individual and team member. For me, service equals fulfillment.”

 

Jessica Gutierrez
U.S. Air Force, 2004-2006
Served as an Air Transportation Journeyman attached to the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron McChord Air Force Base in Washington and the 728th Air Mobility Squadron at Incirlik AFB in Turkey.
Resides in: Houston, TX
Currently: Jessica provides logistical solutions for shipping and receiving departments and is based out of Houston, TX. She joined Team Rubicon in March of 2017 and stepped up to serve her hometown when Hurricane Harvey hit.
Education: In 2004, Jessica graduated from the United States Air Force and Air Transportation Apprentice Technical School. Jessica has also completed vehicle and technology training, OSHA forklift operator training for Team Rubicon, and NASAR SAR Tech III training.
“Service is my core value. It’s giving someone else priority over my personal comforts and the passion to learn about people by helping them. When I use my strengths to serve others my vision becomes greater and my fear becomes less.”

 


Teaira Johnson
U.S. Army, 2012
Served for a short period of time as a Human Resource Specialist before an injury, which led to her medical discharge.
Resides in: Raleigh, NC
Currently: Serves as a warehouse supervisor. Teaira stepped up after Hurricane Harvey as the Operation Section Chief for Team Rubicon in Beaumont, TX for seven weeks.
Education: Studied in Perth Amboy, NJ at Perth Amboy High School from 2009 to 2012.
“Service is not to do it for show or publicity, but simply to enrich and help the lives of others and your own life.”

 

Kurtis Jones
U.S. Navy, 2007-2017
Kurtis worked primarily in intelligence throughout his career in the Navy. He has multiple deployments, including Afghanistan from 2011-2013 attached to Joint Special Operations Command. He also served as a Senior Intelligence Analyst for a Crisis Response Element attached to SEAL team 3 and SEAL team 7.
Resides in: Houston, TX
Currently: Kurtis most recently served as the Lead Intelligence Operations Analyst and Debriefer for the Special Boat Team Twenty-Two based at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. He joined Team Rubicon in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Education: Kurtis will receive his Bachelor of Arts from the American Military University in Intelligence Studies in May of 2018.
“Family concerns separated me from active duty, but like many other veterans, that didn’t stop my desire to help others. I have grown an obsession to help and find ways to feel the satisfaction I felt while I was conducting operations deployed. The Houston area is my home and what better way to give back then to do this for my city? I’ve spent the better half of my life leading and helping others, and I wholeheartedly intend to keep doing so. To continue to serve this country is one thing. But to serve the people of Houston is going to be meaningful in a way that words cannot describe.” 

Matt Ramirez
U.S. Air Force, 2007-2015
Served as Staff Sergeant managing equipment used in NATO allied command operations.
Resides in: Houston, TX
Currently: Serves as an after-school mentor to young men at Generation One, a non-profit in the Third Ward community of Houston which aims to break the cycle of poverty. Matt has also been a member of Team Rubicon since 2014.
EducationGraduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in May of 2015.
“Selfless Service is a Sikh scripture; you don’t do it with an expectation or the idea of a reward. You do it because it’s what needed to be done. The ability to help others is a blessing you should never take it for granted. The people you help won’t.”

 

Jose Reyes
U.S. Army, 2005-2015
After a decade of service with the U.S. Army Military Police Company, Jose went on to serve with the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the New York Police Department.
Resides in: Montgomery, TX
Currently: Jose most recently served with the U.S. Army Garrison – Miami (SouthCom), patrolling, deterring, and defending military installations from criminal activities. Jose became a member of Team Rubicon in March of 2016.
Education: Joes has taken multiple courses with the U.S. Army throughout his career. He also has taken a Combat Life Saver Course with the New Jersey Regional Training Institute and a Less-than-Lethal Weapons Instructor and Range Safety course.
“Service is done without expectancies of any form of gratitude, but because it is right. The willingness to interrupt your life for someone else’s is priceless. We’ve become a society that only does things for others when there is a personal gain or reward behind it. We share our knowledge and skills in hope of something in return. Our world would be a better place if we unselfishly did the uncommon thing and served someone else.”

 

Elliot Rios
U.S. Marine Corps, 1998-2001
Joined the Marine Corps and served as a Legal Admin
Resides in: Newburgh, NY
Currently: Elliot was a Care Manager and Director of Scheduling for Cornerstone Family Health Care at St Lukes Hospital where he managed the scheduling department, provided patients with proper counseling, and organized and developed community programs. He has been serving with Team Rubicon since October of 2017.
Education: Attended Zion Bible College and graduated in 2011 with a degree in Pastoral Counseling and Theological Studies.
“My purpose on earth is to serve others. Whether teaching young adults in high school, small children in kindergarten, or working with patients, it was always the love for humanity that has driven me and provided me with a sense of purpose. From the moment I arrived at my very first FOB with Team Rubicon, I was embraced with the love of my TRibe.”

 

Oscar Ruvalcaba
U.S. Air Force, 2002-2006
Oscar has also served as a wildland technician, hot shot firefighter, and driver operator throughout his firefighting career.
Resides in: Vista, CA
Currently: Oscar works for the Department of the Interior through the Bureau of Land Management as a firefighter and wildland technician. He joined Team Rubicon in May of 2014.
Education: Graduated from the College of the Canyons in 2004. Oscar also obtained his Associate’s Degree from Keesler Air Force Base.
“As a career firefighter and first responder, I have always served my community. Today, I still feel a strong obligation to serve my country and give back to the people who have helped me along the way. I try to live my life by one of the core mottos from the Air Force -‘service before self.’ I believe my work in the military and civilian world have made me work hard to achieve my goals and a become a better person.”



Miles Vervalin
U.S. Army, 2003-2007
Trained as a 91W/68W combat medic, yet served as a security asset on a personal security detachment during both of my Iraq deployments in 2005 and 2007.
Resides in: Manvel, TX
Currently: Miles was most recently the fitness manager at LA Fitness. He joined Team Rubicon back in 2015.
Education: Miles is pursuing an Associate’s degree in Applied Science in Process Technology at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX
“Try to leave everything better than it was before you were there…every environment, person, or situation.”


Applications for Cohort 7 of the Clay Hunt Fellows Program are open through February 19, 2018. Learn more