Service Doesn’t End When Retirement Begins

Fred LaPoint

Fred is a US Coast Guard veteran and a certified firefighter and paramedic. He currently serves Team Rubicon as the State Administrator for Michigan in Region V.

Over my lifetime i’ve had many different jobs. I’ve worked as a dishwasher in a nursing home, a bag boy at a supermarket, as an animal laboratory tech at a Veterans Administration Hospital Research Facility, enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Viet Nam era, and been a professional Firefighter/Paramedic.

I’ve recently realized that there’s a common theme that was running through all of these roles: service. The theme for my entire life has been about giving back. Because of Team Rubicon, this theme will not end just because retirement begins.

It was only in the quiet of the billets bunk room at the United Methods Church in Magnolia, Texas (while deployed on Operation Shallow Draft), that I was able to finally shed light on what it was I have been looking for all these years. The realization was that this journey has been about finding something that could help me to bring about meaningful change in peoples’ lives, not just the people I was serving, but also in my own life well.  But it’s even more than just being about bringing positive change – it’s about making an impact and hopefully if I have done it well enough, others may follow and in turn, change the world.

Team Rubicon has provided me not only with the means to make meaningful change in my life and in those lives of the people I serve and serve with, but it has also provided me with that renewed sense of purpose. It has renewed the desire to continually strive to improve who I am and provides me with an ever-expanding horizon of ways to serve.

I have now deployed on multiple operations with Team Rubicon and the most recent one was a first for me and TR, too. Operation Shallow Draft was the organization’s first time deploying boat rescue crews to a flood zone. I could never imagine in my wildest dreams that I would find myself in a news clip on CNN or in a boat with incredible teammates in the middle of hurricane response.

For a long time I have worried about how I will continue to serve after my fire service career is finished and I face the uncertainties of a retirement in the not-too-distant future. Through Team Rubicon I have found that sense of still belonging, of fulfillment and of still being able to make a contribution to making a difference in other people’s lives all while being part of an incredible organization with incredible people.

I don’t worry anymore.