Feeling at Home in Okanogan County

Jonah Thompson

On his first operation with Team Rubicon, Army veteran Nick Palmeri reflects on the "most moving thank you" he's ever received.

This was my first deployment with Team Rubicon. From the time I clicked “volunteer” to writing this reflection, I’ve had nothing but great experiences during this deployment to “The Okanogan.”

2015.10_GoodMedicine_SO-5660_webThe most outstanding of memories for me during this time happened on one of our very first properties. The owner is a prominent figure within his tribe, and he was very concerned about locating a sacred peace pipe that has been used in ritualistic ceremonies for generations.

While Team Rubicon was sifting through what was left of his burnt down house, we actually found it…..in near-perfect condition. The same owner also sang a prayer song for us in his native language while playing his buffalo skin drum. He then said a prayer for our families and translated it for us. It was the most moving thank you I could have ever imagined. Furthermore, he invited our team to join him in the future for a peyote and sweat lodge ceremony with the elders for the tribe’s appreciation.


On the TR side, I have been amazed at the work ethic and motivation of ALL members. From morning to bedtime, everyone wants to work and there haven’t been any disputes. It’s like a streamlined military without the headaches, and everyone is motivated. Hell, we aren’t even demob’d and TR members are volunteering for their next deployment!

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Overall, this has been very helpful for me, as a combat vet with PTSD, anxiety and stress, to be able to talk and interact with so many other people that are like-minded and have gone through a lot of the same things. I appreciate the opportunity to be here, so thank you Team Rubicon!

P.S. I will definitely be deploying again!

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