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High Expectations Interning with Team Rubicon

James Wilson

James served for six years in the U.S. Air Force as a Battlefield Weather Forecaster with the U.S Army. He continues to promote the importance of joint forces and teamwork—in every sense of the word. James currently serves as a development intern with Team Rubicon from his humble abode in Portland, OR where he pursues his passion for helping and supporting others.

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Former logistics intern Chris Morrow served teams in the field from our National Operations Center in Grand Prairie, TX.

Interning with Team Rubicon (TR) is exactly what you’d expect. If you’re a veteran, active-duty, or know anything about TR; you know we always look out for each other. It’s what we do. In the Air Force, we called it being a wingman. You’d get new orders somewhere, and shortly after, a big fat envelope in the mail would arrive. A letter inside read, “I’m Sergeant so-and-so. I’m here to be your eyes forward.” You just knew what to expect.

Well, since leaving the service four years ago, nobody ever sent me anything about what to expect in the civilian world. And there’s a lot of eyes out here, but not too many seem to be forward.

With Team Rubicon, I know exactly what to expect.

It’s people who help themselves by helping others. That’s just simple, isn’t it? This allows me to get on with my life and focus on what’s important. When people ask what I do, I sport an obviously self-righteous smile, and say, “I help save the world!” And yes, I actually say that, and yes, it gets a lot of blank stares. But it’s a perfect segue to start talking about what really matters in life and how we’re all contributing to a bigger cause.

Team Rubicon National Headquarters, Los Angeles
Team Rubicon National Headquarters, Los Angeles

The conversation blazes right past social contracts—you can quickly get to know someone before they eventually feel compelled to ask, “Okay, but seriously, what do you do?” So I share how Team Rubicon aims to be the best disaster response organization in the world, but then I go back to the importance of looking out for people and truly investing in them. This is something Team Rubicon understands, and it’s why they stand out.

For my internship, I assist with fundraising initiatives. And I say assist because TR sells itself. People just get it. They get why it’s so important. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s about being part of something bigger. As my friend Frank who fought in WWII said, “People who don’t understand wouldn’t understand if you tried. People who understand, you don’t have to explain it to them.”

Team Rubicon isn’t about explaining it to people, it’s about showing them.

This is what leading by example means, and it’s what greyshirts do best. During my internship, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know TR staff members who make it all possible, and the people who give us their hard-earned dollars so we can buy beer – just kidding – I mean respond to communities in need!

Staff and interns supporting operations from Team Rubicon's National Office in Los Angeles.
Staff and interns cover down on a variety of support roles for those volunteering their time to kick disasters in the shins.

A vast majority of people donating to Team Rubicon were not in the service. They’re people who understand shifting the narrative to showcase how veterans are truly assets and not liabilities. They have high expectations for us because they know we deserve them.

If you’re up for the challenge of interning with Team Rubicon, expect to exceed those expectations. And if you need anything, I’m James. I’m here to be your eyes forward. Feel free to email me about anything at wilson@teamrubiconusa.org.

If I can’t help you, I’ll direct you to someone who can. Current internships and staff positions are listed throughout the country. Check them out here.