Following in My Father’s Footsteps

Darren T. Bean

A Greyshirt reflects on the father who was always serving, and how that service led him to the TRibe.

My father is the reason I am a Team Rubicon volunteer—a Greyshirt. My father’s entire life was of service. He served in the military for 40 years, retiring as an Army Sergeant Major. When he wasn’t wearing his camouflage uniform, he had a few others he wore. He was a deputy game warden ensuring that hunters were taking care of the environment, being safe, and managing the herd legally. He was also a police dispatcher for both state police and local police ensuring the dispatch and safety of officers serving the community. He was always serving.

As a young adult, I followed in his camouflage footprints. Then, my father died at the age of 60, three months after he retired from it all. I often thought I would never be like that—wouldn’t work until I died. I then realized that he didn’t work until he died; he served until he no longer could. He served his nation, his community, and our four-legged friends in the woods.

Greyshirt Darren T. Bean holds a photo of his father.

It took me a while to realize that I wanted and needed to be just like him: In service to others, for life. This led me to 23 years in the Army, founding and running a nonprofit for veterans for almost 10 years, working as a Department of the Army civilian developing combat clothing and equipment for our soldiers and Marines, and working for a company that helps people with disabilities get jobs producing military equipment. 

And now, with Team Rubicon. I’ve deployed nine times since becoming a Greyshirt in 2022. In 2023, I was deployed on Operation Crying Onion—Team Rubicon’s response to catastrophic flooding in Vermont—as the Operations Section Chief in Barre. Barre is about 20 minutes from where I was born and raised; a town where my Dad and Mom would watch me play hockey in high school. To date, it’s my favorite operation because I was able to go back home and help my people.

My dad has been gone for a while now, but I think of him on every operation. He had a saying: when asked how he was doing, he would always say, “Tip-top,” no matter whether he was or not. He always exuded calm. That is something that now, as a member of the Command and General Staff team, I try to mirror. No matter the road bumps, always exude calm.

My dad was a great man—my hero. This summer, I will match his length of service to this great nation of ours. What a great way to celebrate Father’s Day!

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