We lost Clay Hunt back in 2011, but we still reflect on his lasting impact and the legacy across our growing organization today. As one of our original members, Clay helped spark the evolution of what is now more than 130,000 men and women committed to service. Clay left us with a message we strive to uphold:
“If I had one thing to say to my fellow veterans, it would be this: Continue to serve, even though we have taken off our uniforms. No matter how great or small your service is, it is desired and needed by the world we live in today. Volunteer to mow your elderly neighbor’s lawn for them. Spend a day at a soup kitchen helping feed the homeless, many of whom are veterans themselves. Work on a trail maintenance project. Start a service organization. It doesn’t matter what it is, it only matters that you are continuing to put others before yourself, just like you did when you were in the military. Actions like that are the only sure ways to bring about the positive social change that our country and our world need so badly these days.”
When Team Rubicon became an established 501(c)(3) in 2010, our mission was to deploy skilled, experienced military veterans and medical professionals to disaster zones abroad. From 2010–2011, we deployed to Haiti, South Sudan, the Thai/Burma border, Pakistan, and Chile. And when we lost Clay in 2011, we recognized a need to engage our veterans and serve our communities right here at home. Of the more than 240 operations we launched between inception and 2018 alone, roughly 90% were conducted in the U.S.
Team Rubicon also developed a year-long fellowship in Clay’s name, inviting veterans to heal and challenge themselves through continued service. As of May, 2022, 18 cohorts have graduated from the Clay Hunt Fellows Program.
We asked some of our Fellows to share how Clay Hunt has impacted their lives.
Cal Verdin: U.S. Army Veteran — Cohort 1
JJ Selvig: U.S. Marine Corps Veteran — Cohort 4
“I am living out Clay’s legacy by putting myself in positions to help people from all walks of life. Without Clay, I wouldn’t be here. Even though we never met, the impact that he has had on my life is immeasurable. I not only get to honor his legacy but also get the chance to impact people in the most positive way. From honoring him as a Fellow, to now having the amazing and humbling opportunity to work full time with the CHFP. To say Clay impacted me is an understatement.”
Jon Connors: USMC Veteran — Cohort 3
Jerome Deniz: U.S. Navy Veteran — Cohort 3
“When I think about Clay and his legacy, I believe that selfless service is paramount. Through the Clay Hunt Fellowship Program and Team Rubicon, I’ve been given a greater opportunity to directly assist those affected by disasters around the world. Working in TR’s Training Shop allows me to have a direct impact on the level of care and work TR volunteers provide in a disaster-affected areas. I feel more fulfilled with the work I do for Team Rubicon than anything I’ve ever done prior.”
Traci Rankin: U.S. Army Veteran — Cohort 5
“I feel my purpose on earth is to serve others. My entire adult life has been spent in uniform in service first in the Army and then as a sworn law enforcement officer. Though I had to medically retire from law enforcement, I am still very capable of making a difference and help bring calm to chaos. I truly believe in karma, for all good deeds we do serving others, we will be repaid during our lifetime.”
Danielle Gilbert: U.S. Army Veteran — Cohort 3
Clay’s legacy will continue to live on through Fellows, Greyshirts, supporters, and the greater veteran community. He instilled an unrivaled spirit of service we will carry out in our everyday lives.