Team Rubicon Put the Fire Back in My Belly

Jonah Thompson

David Johnson reflects on how serving on Operation Who Dat brought him closer to service and closer to fellow Greyshirts.

Having previously experienced a deployment, I was chomping at the bit to take part in another. I received a “grab your go bags” text and email for Operation Who Dat on a Thursday. By the following Monday, I was on my way to East New Orleans. I was anxious to become reacquainted with volunteers from my previous deployment and meet any new Greyshirts.

The first strike team I was on consisted of myself, a New Zealander we nicknamed Kiwi, an Irishman we nicknamed Lucky Charms, a French transplant livings in Québec we nicknamed Frenchie, and a seasoned volunteer named Junior. My strike team members gave me the nickname Oldman and Old Spice because I was the oldest in the group – lucky me.

This team was the true representation of Team Rubicon. People coming together from a variety of different backgrounds to help others.

This experience was different than my deployment on Operation Seymour Action. In North Carolina, I worked in a crawl space the majority of the day. I didn’t have as much opportunity to interact with the others as I did on Who Dat. I also had the opportunity to work on many teams and conduct debris removal. This gave me more opportunities to meet other Greyshirts. As I met more teammates, I found that at the very core of everyone I worked with was the dedication of performing to the best of his or her ability. We all played an essential part and ingrained in all of us was the motto: “Get Shit Done.”

I joined Team Rubicon because of my strong desire to help others. I realized I wanted to make a difference and becoming a Team Rubicon volunteer would help me make that possible. The challenges, every member’s strong commitment to serve, and the friendships I have made put the fire back in my belly.

The intrinsic value of helping someone was a wonderful feeling I had been missing for a very long time. As Greyshirts, we often take something and make it into nothing, such as the homes that we demolished, nothing left but a slab where a house once stood. Yet that slab is a foundation, it represents a clean slate, a new beginning for someone to build.

When someone says, “Who Dat?” The people whose lives we assisted with will likely reply, “Greyshirts are all Dat.”

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