Operation: Moonshine – Personal Reflection from Mike Winders, USAF Veteran

I first served with Team Rubicon during Hurricane Sandy relief efforts by providing off site technical support by utilizing weather forecasting and observation training and experience which I learned in the U.S. Air Force. I have now been integrated into a group of veterans who not only care but step into total destruction and become the calm in the storm for emergency response. We cover all military service branches and all walks of life, yet meld together with the simple purpose of helping people.

In my first two days in the field I have been able to connect faces with emails and understand I have others like me that are willing to drop everything back in suburbia, and make recovery for families in a tough situation a little less complicated. I am energized with the thankful eyes of every person our team contacts while we clear a driveway or mend a roof simultaneously; showing them veterans do not just retire and disappear, but use our skills to make this small world better.

For me this team we call ‘Rubicon’ doubles as long-lost family that heals my spirit as I gain new brothers and sisters in every debris filled turn of Clinton, Arkansas.

Today I woke up in a strange place with my new siblings and hit the ground of the operation area, clearing debris with chainsaws on fallen trees. The over-200 ft driveway that was impassable this morning is now clear thanks to a day full of hard work and determination. Although we almost lost a team member to dehydration, our medical members stepped in and allowed operations to
continue. We patched a roof in under an hour even with the smaller team and ended with weary arms late in the afternoon.

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