I showed up to my first Team Rubicon operation with a healthy level of pessimism cultivated over years in organizations saddled with bureaucracy. I was pessimistic that there would be people who saw this as an opportunity to stand in the limelight. Then I arrived in Texas. I immediately realized this was an organization where “big boy rules” applied and the people who volunteered shirked attention, instead focusing on the reason why they were there – the people of Wimberley.
I was surrounded by the best of what society had to offer, both from here at home and abroad. IsraAID, an Israeli humanitarian aid organization, had flown half way around the world to lend a helping hand to their brothers and sisters in America. There were military and medical professionals who left comfortable jobs and home to give of their time and labor.
But, the most amazing part was they didn’t come to practice what they knew or did best. They came to do whatever was asked of them.
They pulled insulation from under mobile homes. They cut and hauled trees all day. They stood knee-deep in muck that belonged in underground pipes – let that sink in. **Side note – when you hear the phrase “lead from the front,” think Team Rubicon – Jake Wood and Ken Harbaugh, CEO and COO, respectively, were both in the middle of it.
Most of the time, residents had temporarily moved so there was no one to thank the volunteers or shake their hands after hours of strenuous labor. Sometimes there was someone there, but ultimately, they didn’t come to be appreciated. They did it because they knew instinctually it was the right thing to do. They couldn’t imagine not being in the fray with the people who stood to their left and right.
Then there are the people of Wimberley. I wish I could thank them individually for the incredible reciprocity Team Rubicon and I experienced, but I suppose this is the next best thing. THANK YOU.
After I left on a long drive home, I was trying to reconcile (and still am) this organization that does what it says it does. More importantly, it was the people I met, these walking juxtapositions of warrior and servant with whom I had the distinct pleasure of serving, who left me in awe. I’m humbled and honored to wear the gray shirt they wear and call myself a part of Team Rubicon.