My Mother’s Day Gift Was a Greyshirt

Aurora “Boots” Massaruto

A Greyshirt reflects on bringing the next generation into the TRibe, and serving alongside her eldest son on his first operation.

My first volunteer deployment with Team Rubicon was in 2017. I signed up to assist communities affected by Hurricane Harvey, and I’ve been an active Greyshirt volunteer ever since. 

At the time, my oldest son Jon Rosello was too young to join me, but he did tell me that would change. “Mom, I am signing up the moment I turn 18 so that I can do amazing things, like you,” he said. 

My heart leads me to serve people in need, to help communities impacted by floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms—a tradition I have always wanted my children to take away from my time on earth.

In 2020, a few years after I became a Greyshirt, two back-to-back disasters in Tennessee led me to serve the people of the City of Cookeville. Tornadoes hit the city twice in a terrible storm season that saw several powerful twisters tear through several states in the region. Tennessee experienced 10 tornadoes in total, including a devastating EF-4 twister that caused severe damage and casualties in Cookeville. 

By then, Jon had made good on that promise and become a Greyshirt himself. When Team Rubicon launched a response to the first tornado event, I volunteered to go, but work obligations prevented my son from joining me. After the second tornado operation was set up, Jon signed up immediately. I wasn’t too far behind in doing the same.

We packed our go-bags; he left first, and I got on the road shortly afterwards.

During this response I was a sawyer and, like I have after many other storms before, served as part of a chainsaw operations team. It would, however, be the first time that my son would see what I do and why I do it. Teaching him about service to others before self has been a focal point in our volunteer journey.

In Cookeville, Jon came to the tornado-damaged home that I and other sawyer teams were working on. He stood there, in amazement, just watching me. Then, out of the blue, and over the roars of running chainsaws, I heard this loud voice shout out: “That’s my momma!”

At that moment, I was not only his momma but also his role model. 

volunteers Jon Rosello and Aurora “Boots” Massaruto
The best Mother’s Day gift is a kid in grey. Greyshirt Aurora “Boots” Massaruto with her son Jon “Booties” Rosello.

My son, Jon, has since also become a sawyer and deployed on other Team Rubicon disaster response operations several times. In fact, by this 2024 Mother’s Day he will have deployed on eight operations with Team Rubicon. He has spent time around Greyshirts who have served with me, who have spoken about me and about what I do. He shared with me how impressed he is and what mark I’ve left on the people I serve with. He is the oldest of my two sons, and he is also my legacy.

Our stories of service have many more chapters. We have served on operations together twice, so far, just missing the chance to do so again during the massive Gulf Coast hurricane response operation Operation Crying Eagle. 

I’m so proud of Jon not only as my son, but also as a Greyshirt. And yes, his mother is a donor.

Donate in Honor of Someone

This Mother’s Day, we invite you to contribute to our mission as a meaningful tribute to your mother or a mother figure in your life. Honor someone you love with a gift made in their name to Team Rubicon.

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