Team Rubicon Put the Fire Back in My Belly

David Johnson

David Johnson has a B.A. in Business Administration from Olivet College and a M.A. in Guidance & Counseling from Eastern Michigan University. He joined Team Rubicon in 2016.

Having previously experienced a deployment, I was chomping at the bit to take part in another. I received a “grab your go bags” text and email for Operation Who Dat on a Thursday. By the following Monday, I was on my way to East New Orleans. I was anxious to become reacquainted with volunteers from my previous deployment and meet any new Greyshirts.

The first strike team I was on consisted of myself, a New Zealander we nicknamed Kiwi, an Irishman we nicknamed Lucky Charms, a French transplant livings in Québec we nicknamed Frenchie, and a seasoned volunteer named Junior. My strike team members gave me the nickname Oldman and Old Spice because I was the oldest in the group – lucky me.

This team was the true representation of Team Rubicon. People coming together from a variety of different backgrounds to help others.

This experience was different than my deployment on Operation Seymour Action. In North Carolina, I worked in a crawl space the majority of the day. I didn’t have as much opportunity to interact with the others as I did on Who Dat. I also had the opportunity to work on many teams and conduct debris removal. This gave me more opportunities to meet other Greyshirts. As I met more teammates, I found that at the very core of everyone I worked with was the dedication of performing to the best of his or her ability. We all played an essential part and ingrained in all of us was the motto: “Get Shit Done.”

I joined Team Rubicon because of my strong desire to help others. I realized I wanted to make a difference and becoming a Team Rubicon volunteer would help me make that possible. The challenges, every member’s strong commitment to serve, and the friendships I have made put the fire back in my belly.

The intrinsic value of helping someone was a wonderful feeling I had been missing for a very long time. As Greyshirts, we often take something and make it into nothing, such as the homes that we demolished, nothing left but a slab where a house once stood. Yet that slab is a foundation, it represents a clean slate, a new beginning for someone to build.

When someone says, “Who Dat?” The people whose lives we assisted with will likely reply, “Greyshirts are all Dat.”