Some Lessons Can’t Be Taught in the Classroom

Jonah Thompson

Volunteer Jake Johnson is a legally blind student at Emory University with aspirations to serve as an emergency manager. Check out what he learned downrange with Team Rubicon.

Recently, I checked a few boxes saying I could hypothetically respond to a disaster in Tennessee with Team Rubicon. Barely four days later, I am serving as the Planning Section Chief for Operation Thunderhead.

This experience has been literally priceless for someone like me, a young college student with the dream of one day becoming an emergency manager. No class, power point, or video could ever match the training and mentoring I received on this duty just by being here.

Jake has an interest in emergency management and during his first deployment with Team Rubicon, the Command and General Staff supported his efforts as Planning Section Chief.

Even more incredible than the fact that Team Rubicon was willing to give me this opportunity despite knowing I am legally blind. They told me to do whatever I could and so I led meetings, coordinated operations, and helped out in every way I could. I learned the ins and outs of the incident command system and learned from the knowledge of greyshirts with experiences I won’t be able to match for another 20 years or more.

Jake served as Planning Section Chief to guide volunteers to areas that needed assistance in Roane County, TN in the wake of straight-line wind damage.

This deployment, hopefully the first of many, is something I will remember for the rest of my life as the moment I was absolutely positive about what I wanted to do with my life.

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