Feeling at Home in Okanogan County

Nick Palmeri

Nick Palmeri is an Army veteran and a Team Rubicon Region X member residing in Oregon.

This was my first deployment with Team Rubicon. From the time I clicked “volunteer” to writing this reflection, I’ve had nothing but great experiences during this deployment to “The Okanogan.”

2015.10_GoodMedicine_SO-5660_webThe most outstanding of memories for me during this time happened on one of our very first properties. The owner is a prominent figure within his tribe, and he was very concerned about locating a sacred peace pipe that has been used in ritualistic ceremonies for generations.

While Team Rubicon was sifting through what was left of his burnt down house, we actually found it…..in near-perfect condition. The same owner also sang a prayer song for us in his native language while playing his buffalo skin drum. He then said a prayer for our families and translated it for us. It was the most moving thank you I could have ever imagined. Furthermore, he invited our team to join him in the future for a peyote and sweat lodge ceremony with the elders for the tribe’s appreciation.


On the TR side, I have been amazed at the work ethic and motivation of ALL members. From morning to bedtime, everyone wants to work and there haven’t been any disputes. It’s like a streamlined military without the headaches, and everyone is motivated. Hell, we aren’t even demob’d and TR members are volunteering for their next deployment!

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Overall, this has been very helpful for me, as a combat vet with PTSD, anxiety and stress, to be able to talk and interact with so many other people that are like-minded and have gone through a lot of the same things. I appreciate the opportunity to be here, so thank you Team Rubicon!

P.S. I will definitely be deploying again!

  • Darla Saunders

    Nick, Thank you and the rest of region 10 volunteers for doing such great work in Okanogan County. I have family there that are thankfully back in their homes. It is a wonderful county with amazing people. Sincerely, Darla ( a sister in TR region 3)

  • Alicia Sloan

    Nick (and any TR member who reads this!), Thank you for a wonderful article! I’m so glad your first volunteer experience was awesome. TR is an incredible group of people. I only wish I could have been at Operation Good Medicine (I was at work at the VA), but cheerleading all of you on Facebook and in spirit. Anytime you need to chat, feel free to text or leave me a voicemail, I’m here for you and each Team X member for any mental health and wellness issues, rants/raves, wellness reminders. Or simply a high-5! Hopefully see you at the next TR event!
    Your Team X Wellness Manager,
    Alicia Sloan