Finding Purpose While Serving a Fellow Veteran

Johnny Roman

An Army veteran on his first deployment reflects on finding a home in the TRibe.

Since retiring from the Army a few years ago, I have struggled to find a purpose in my life. Injuries have prevented me from being as useful as I once was, but I have always enjoyed helping others and working outside in challenging environments. Therefore, I usually gravitate towards activities that allow me to have those experiences.

I first heard about Team Rubicon because they went to Puerto Rico to help after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. I flew on my own to Puerto Rico and did what I could to help my family and others, but I obviously did not have the resources to do enough. So, I started researching Team Rubicon for the possibility of joining for future events. Eventually, I learned about its GSD goals and what it stood for. And while it took me a long time to decide to join, I finally became a Greyshirt last year. 

In January, I stepped into the arena and finished my first deployment. Operation Let It Go was a recovery operation to assist a local resident whose home was destroyed by floodwaters after Hurricane Elsa. We spent a few days working extremely hard removing debris and other items while wearing a protective suit and an N95 mask due to the presence of mold in the house. 

It was remarkable to see strangers work together so well and fervently for the common goal of helping another human being. The person we helped was also a veteran, so this mission was a little extra special. Working with such a great group of people and helping a veteran in need was extremely rewarding. I remember driving home after the mission and realizing how happy I was for those tiring few days. Operation Let It Go felt like I finally found a purpose.

A Greyshirt works at the hurricane-damaged home of an Air Force veteran. Photo by Steve Carriere
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