Highlighting Veterans in Our Ranks

In recognition of Veterans Day, join us in looking back at a few stand-out reflections written by and about a few of our veteran volunteers. After serving in the military and hanging up their uniforms, they decided to don our grey shirts to serve those impacted by disaster. They felt the need to share their experiences with our audience. This highlight is a small token of our appreciation.



Bill Blair is a U.S. Army veteran. He deployed to Hidalgo County, Texas on Operation Magic Valley to help residents in the area recover from severe flooding.

“These deployments have literally changed my outlook on life.” 

“In every aspect of Team Rubicon, whether it is training, deployments or socials, the only thing that matters is we have chosen to help and serve others. It does not matter one iota what your gender, age, sexuality, religious beliefs, political stance or physical capabilities are, you are a TRibe member and we all share the same goal – to help and serve others on their worst day. I have been blessed to have worked with and beside some of the greatest men and women, you will ever find. Friendships are instant and long lasting and that is hard to find.”



Stokely “Stokes” Samuel is an Air Force veteran. He’s deployed with TR on seven operations and community service projects.

“My day job is important, but TR the organization, the mission, and the people fulfill so much more in my life.”

“I got involved with Team Rubicon after almost 26 years in the U.S. Air Force. I was looking for a volunteer organization to join that would help the community and use my skills so I did a search for disaster response and read about TR. I thought it would be cool to use my organizational and leadership skills, work with veterans, help the community. And TR doesn’t charge people. The way I look at it is the American taxpayers already paid me. They paid for my training, for me to develop these skills and knowledge. Now I’m repaying that debt to the taxpayers for my almost 26 years of active duty by helping in times of need. Giving of oneself is great and it’s an honor for me to serve my fellow citizens once again as a member of Team Rubicon.”



Jaisiel Cosme is a U.S. Army and Puerto Rico National Guard veteran. He’s played a vital role in our relief operation in Puerto Rico.

“I have always tried to live my life with a higher purpose. Today, I can certainly say that being a Team Rubicon Greyshirt is the most rewarding experience I’ve had at this stage of my life.”

“Operation Coqui Comeback has enabled me to help my fellow Puerto Ricans. And, even when I’m still missing my roof (which was damaged by Hurricane Maria), giving back and helping others in need during this operation has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. This feeling of serving a higher purpose through disaster relief, placing service above self and helping communities in need is something that every true Greyshirt comes to understand through deployments with Team Rubicon.”



Matthew Crane is a Navy veteran. He shared this reflection on Memorial Day honoring his brother and highlighting what service means for him.

“Working and serving with other veterans is honest medicine for me and I am grateful to TR for providing such memorable service experiences.”

Today, I’m happy to report that since then I’ve been sober for nearly five years from alcohol and eight years from opiates. During my sobriety, I witnessed my little brother Dan descend into the same darkness I worked so hard to crawl out of. He died October 12, 2016. I don’t know why I made it through and my little brother did not – but I can tell you that staying actively engaged in service work was my program to sobriety. In other words, staying connected.

It was extremely difficult to see through the fog of depression and addiction, until I rediscovered the power of service in the AmeriCorps programs. Now, I am incredibly proud to call my self a Team Rubicon member and that I continue to serve our brothers and sisters around the world, healing through service with our tribe.


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