Recently, I checked a few boxes saying I could hypothetically respond to a disaster in Tennessee with Team Rubicon. Barely four days later, I am serving as the Planning Section Chief for Operation Thunderhead.
This experience has been literally priceless for someone like me, a young college student with the dream of one day becoming an emergency manager. No class, power point, or video could ever match the training and mentoring I received on this duty just by being here.
Even more incredible than the fact that Team Rubicon was willing to give me this opportunity despite knowing I am legally blind. They told me to do whatever I could and so I led meetings, coordinated operations, and helped out in every way I could. I learned the ins and outs of the incident command system and learned from the knowledge of greyshirts with experiences I won’t be able to match for another 20 years or more.
This deployment, hopefully the first of many, is something I will remember for the rest of my life as the moment I was absolutely positive about what I wanted to do with my life.