I woke up this morning a little later than normal, but hell, it’s the weekend.
Turning my phone on, I received an instant barrage of texts:
“Dude, you should learn to share…”
“Well, now we know why Matt hasn’t been participating in our group texts.”
They included screenshots of a New York Times article titled “He Has 17,700 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer and Nowhere to Sell Them.” The profile focuses on an Amazon merchant, USAF veteran Matt Colvin, with an overflow stock of cleaning and sanitizing supplies in his garage in Hixson, Tenn.
Needless to say, close friends, friends-of-friends and people three degrees removed are contacting me, my wife, and people we know asking if I’m that guy. Hours later #MattColvin is the 8th trending topic on Twitter so I feel it’s time to set the record straight.
I’m not “that guy.”
Yes, my name is Matt Colvin. Yes, I served in the Air Force. No, I am not that Matt Colvin selling cleaning supplies online for maximum profits. What I am doing, however, is working for a veteran-led disaster response organization called Team Rubicon and what we are doing is finding ways to insert our 110,000 volunteer members into the fight against COVID-19, safely and effectively.
I’ve never experienced what the world is facing at this moment, but I know Team Rubicon’s mission to help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters continues on. We’re in the midst of a historic disaster with the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, but at the same time, TR is actively responding to traditional disasters like the tornado that ripped through Nashville, TN last week. Team Rubicon currently has more than 30 local volunteers helping neighbors to recover and begin to heal.
From here on, every disaster operation Team Rubicon conducts will have the added complexity of COVID-19. Because our mission takes us to the most vulnerable communities affected by disasters around the U.S. and world, we must maintain the ability to serve those most affected, yet remain vigilant to the added threat posed by the coronavirus.
Our society, and Team Rubicon, is now in uncharted territory. It is unclear how this situation will unfold, but it is imperative we continue to help our neighbors near and far.
From earthquakes and fires to isolation quarters or food delivery, we’ll assess and deploy services, some from within our existing capabilities and some that we’ll create and flex on in order to support local, state, and federal partners in response to the pandemic.
These new responses will require very specific processes and procedures to safeguard our volunteers, the communities and survivors they serve, and communities to which they return. It will require innovation and investment.
The investment from our donors has allowed us to build a team with much-needed skills that carried us through 101 disaster response and humanitarian operations in 2019 alone, and more than 400 in our 10-year history.
The volunteers of Team Rubicon are capable and able, but we need more men and women willing to serve their communities in times of crisis. We do not know how COVID-19 will continue to spread and how it may impact disaster relief and recovery, but we know we need to be ready. This will take an increase in investment to recruit and train more of American’s veterans and kick-ass civilians. TR needs support now more than ever to recruit and train and deploy for impact in communities nationwide.
There is no playbook that we can show you, but we can tell you that every dollar will have an impact.
To help your neighbors, community members and those in need, support Team Rubicon, TeamRubiconUSA.org/give.