Apt to Adjusting Fire

Lee Cullop

Navy veteran Lee Cullop serves as an IT professional and Team Rubicon volunteer residing in Colorado.

What a whirlwind week leading up to Operation Burnt Tree III. I pushed through all of Team Rubicon’s pre-deployment training requirements, all while helping a friend become a new member. I’ve been anticipating this operation since participating in Project Bilbo Bag-It in Colorado.

In typical Colorado fashion, the unpredictable weather struck again, dumping over three feet of snow on Buckhorn Camp and forcing Burnt Tree III to be rescheduled for the following Friday. Within a few hours, I was getting messages from Region VIII members Jordon Daniel, Lexy Thompson, and Jen Falkenstien about other potential Ops to get involved with (Op Wind River in Wyoming and Op Valley Run in Colorado).

A week later, Lee signed up to deploy again, grabbed a wheel barrow, and started putting in work on Operation Burnt Tree III in Colorado.

I checked the locations and distance against my schedule and started planning for the changes. Within an hour or so, I saw Op Valley Run was a go, so I choose to deploy South. I arrived on scene Saturday morning and checked in a bit before 8 a.m., and shortly after that we had our briefings, strike Teams set, and boots in the field.

I had worked on projects with a few of the members who made it to this Op and met so many more. The work was familiar – swamping, debris cleanup, and flood mitigation. What set this Op apart for me was the leadership! In a matter of hours, recon was done and all requirements to make this a successful and flawless Op executed on such incredibly short notice blew me away. Once again, TR and its members never fail to amaze. In the face of adversity, against Mother Nature, at a time when most other organizations would have just rescheduled the project, TR rallies and finds ways to still get boots on the ground and have an impact somewhere.

I am and will always be thankful to all the TR members I know and will meet in the future. Most of all thankful to Jordan Daniel for recruiting me into TR and continuing to mentor me. I see myself growing in this organization and taking bigger roles as I continue to train.