From Tough Mudder to Strike Team Lead

Jonah Thompson

Mandi Septer heard about Team Rubicon through a Tough Mudder event and six weeks later found herself leading a strike team in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

Greyshirt Mandi Septer first spotted the Team Rubicon logo at a Tough Mudder event and decided to learn more about the organization Tough Mudder proudly advertised as its official U.S. charity partner. Six weeks later, Mandi completed her first operational period as a Strike Team Leader on Operation Seymour Action in Goldsboro, NC.

Mandi began her journey with Team Rubicon by helping to salvage the property of a widowed homeowner who had survived both Hurricanes Floyd and Andrew. Upon arrival at the work site, Mandi’s strike team encountered an individual who had weathered some of the darkest days imaginable. By the end of their final day of work, the homeowner embraced the entire team in a big group hug, praising each Greyshirt for restoring the energy and optimism needed to continue the long-term recovery process.

Mandi spent some quality time in a crawl space in Goldsboro, NC.

Mandi spent some quality time in a crawl space in Goldsboro, NC.

Mandi’s work ethic and leadership skills did not go unnoticed by her peers and the Command and General Staff. Mandi was selected to serve as a Strike Team Leader, a role that required her to provide a team of volunteers with guidance, support, and direction. Mandi exhibited the Team Rubicon values of a seasoned member – inclusion, teamwork, and personal growth – despite being only days into her first deployment.

In addition to the mucking and gutting work, Operation Seymour provided Mandi with an opportunity to take field-based sawyer training.

“I never picked up a chainsaw before this training class and now I’m a certified sawyer,” said Mandi. “My only experience with chainsaws before Team Rubicon was running away from them at haunted houses, and that fear has been replaced with confidence.”

Mandi's first deployment with TR won't be her last, as she's fond of her new service-minded team.

Mandi’s first deployment with TR won’t be her last, as she’s fond of her new service-minded team.

Mandi is an Army brat and works side-by-side with members of military through her professional work. When asked how it felt to be a civilian volunteer with TR, Mandi echoed the words of her chainsaw instructor, Jacob Nilz: “This is where I feel like I can serve since I didn’t serve in the military. We may not be fighting a war, but we’re fighting Mother Nature. Regardless of our backgrounds, Team Rubicon unites us with a common purpose.”

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