‘Veteran of the Year’ Award – Rob Schmidt (Northwest Territory)
In 2017, this Air Force pilot was stepping out of a career with the Air Force, joining the ranks of Alaska Airlines, and just about to become a Greyshirt that would respond to the devastation in Houston, TX following Hurricane Harvey.
Upon returning to Washington state, this Greyshirt started his second career with Alaska Airlines and also started a leadership position with Team Rubicon. He became the Membership coordinator for Washington, conducting personal outreach to each new Greyshirt that joined the tribe.
As membership increased, so did his appetite for spreading the good TR word. In early 2019, he became the Membership Lead for the Pacific Northwest and during his layovers, would meet with Greyshirts in Washington, Oregon, and middle of nowhere Alaska in subzero temperatures. Also in 2019, he conducted a TR Membership road tour, driving and taking the train hundreds of miles to hold membership connect events with Greyshirts in major metropolitan areas, the suburbs, and in the most rural parts of the Pacific Northwest.
Since Operation: Kick the King began, his flight schedule lightened, but his desire to serve remained. He has served on the pacific northwest’s COVID response mission planning team, on the command and general staff, as a general responder, strike team leader, and overall badass. He has deployed more than 20 times to Kick the King operational events – always with a smile, positive attitude, and a desire to get shit done. Most importantly, however, he ensures the best Greyshirt experience possible. Self-motivated and determined to keep the culture alive, he conducts a Greyshirt presentation on each operation where someone is deploying for the first time. He gets everyone’s attention, reads the words that Jake wrote about the history and importance of the grey shirt and formally welcomes each Greyshirt to the tribe.
Rob Schmidt is a champion of TR culture and absolutely embodies Team Rubicon’s cultural principle of “Mission First. Greyshirts Always.” An Air Force veteran that uses his experience to lead, to support, to inspire, to serve, and to kick disaster in teeth. Thank you, Rob, for your absolute dedication to the organization and its members – and for showing us all what it means to be built to serve.
A quick story from the field about Rob:
“As a Membership Lead, Rob was the first TR person with whom I spoke. He provided the information and guidance I needed to become involved. He demonstrated that he (and TR) care about each Greyshirt..whether newly signed-up or ones that have been active for years. During our conversation, his genuine care for helping me contribute came through loud and clear…that 15 minute conversation secured in my mind that this was the right place to volunteer and that I would have a positive impact. Rob is part of the reason I pursued a leadership role.”