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I Am a Greyshirt

Pat Ross

Pat Ross leads Team Rubicon’s click to shovel experience, deploying volunteer disaster responders throughout the world. For six years he supported Marine Infantry Battalions and advised foreign military forces and then earned a Masters of Business Administration at The Ohio State University. He grew up in Connecticut and graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Political Science and the answers to all the world’s problems. After work, Pat can be found devouring excessive quantities of unidentifiable street food.

I am a Greyshirt. 

I stand ready to be there when others need me most. I earn my “X” through supporting operations, building systems, and enabling others to get out there. My grey shirt is designed to be covered in dirt, drenched in sweat, and embraced by those I’ve served. When I wear it, it means it’s go time for Team Rubicon. I may not be out there every time a fellow Greyshirt hits the field, but I wear it to remind myself we stand on the same line and we’re cut from the same cloth.

When I stepped into the grey on 20 May 2014, I made a commitment to my fellow man to be there when I am needed most. A disaster may never hit my hometown, but because I am a Greyshirt in Team Rubicon, I offer communities my stored capacity when chaos comes knocking.

The “X” on our back matters. 

The symbol “X” represents the traditional symbol of medical aid. It is on its side because TR members represent a departure from the current paradigm in disaster response. The river flowing through the cross represents the Artibonite River and marks our commitment to reinventing disaster relief. There is a hidden TRuth in our uniting emblem: we all wear it — there is no rank structure in TR. It is the only symbol that matters in Team Rubicon. We may wear different hats, but we all wear the grey shirt. We lead by example and through our actions; whether in the field or behind the screen.

I am a Greyshirt.

That means that I Run As One in my silkies once a year to remember the spirit of Clay Hunt and the way he brought people together. That means I am an active citizen in the community. That means that my military career was the starting point in my life, not the defining role. That means that, as a military veteran, I am obligated to continue to step up and step in. That means that I drive change and use my voice, presence, and platform to demand we do the right thing. It means that I am a humanitarian.

Tenacity, impartiality, accountability, collaboration, and innovation are in my blood. We answer the clarion call. We deliver aid to those who need it most. We pull anyone into the Grey; our only requirement is commitment to giving a shit. Our TRust and respect is earned. We build meaningful relationships with purpose. We always find creative ways to accomplish seemingly impossible challenges.

I am a Greyshirt.

That means I have adopted the TRibe’s Cultural Principles:

  • Mission first, Greyshirts always: We focus on the task at hand, and we take care of those executing it.
  • Step into the arena: We march forth boldly and with conviction. The obstacle becomes the way.
  • Everyone has a role, know it: Sometimes we do the cool stuff and sometimes we’re in the rear with the gear, but we succeed as a team. Others depend on each aspect of the plan to be executed with precision. We don’t do drama.
  • Get shit done: We execute, relentlessly.
  • Change your socks: We take a pause to ensure we are mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit to fight when Mother Nature does her worst.
  • Your mother is a donor: Mom wants us to look good and have a hearty meal after a solid day’s work, but she doesn’t want us blowing the budget. We wear our grey shirts until they are faded and ripped beyond repair.

I am a Greyshirt.

Sometimes I lead, sometimes I follow, and sometimes I get the hell out of the way — but regardless of task, position, or purpose, I execute. Whether I wear my black polo, grey shirt, or red hoodie, I am a Greyshirt.

See you in the field.


Are you a Greyshirt with a story? Let’s hear it. Send us a note at greyshirtsalways@teamrubiconusa.org