What I Found in Wimberley

John Holloway

Army veteran John Holloway found a lot more than be bargained for in Texas with Team Rubicon.

I have seen a lot of things and met a lot of people since I arrived for this operation.

I have seen water marks 4 feet high on the second floor wall of a home that was already 40 feet above the river. I’ve seen massive 100-year-old cypress trees snapped like toothpicks or simply ripped out by the roots, scattered along the river’s edge or hundreds of feet from the river.


I have met a man who spent eight terrifying hours with his disabled wife trapped on the third floor of their home as they watched the water rise up the staircase toward them then slowly recede.

I met a local man so committed to helping his neighbors he volunteered in any way he could, and only a few days later, joined Team Rubicon so he could continue to help in the best way he knew how.

Most importantly, I met up with my brothers and sisters of Team Rubicon, and it wasn’t until that point that I realized how empty my soul had become.

December 12, 2012, was my last day at work with my previous employer. Since that day, I have struggled to make ends meet and maintain my own sense of dignity and self-respect. It’s hard to hold your head up and look in the mirror knowing you are disappointing those who are counting on you.


This past July I left the military after 25 years and lost that brotherhood. But since I arrived here in Wimberley, I also found many things: namely, my self-respect, my drive and desire to succeed, my sense of self-worth, my desire to give all to help my fellow man. I found my purpose. All these things I found through my family here at TR. They helped me realize I am part of a Team, and the weight of the world is NOT resting solely on my shoulders. They are willing to share the load with me and help me.

Even though they don’t know they have done so, they’ve helped me focus on what I can do, reminded me I do have skills, knowledge, and experiences that are valuable and that there are no limits on what I can achieve.

Most importantly, the biggest thing I found is that now, unlike 10 days ago, when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I now admire the man looking back at me.


  • Reflection

    A Better Tomorrow

    A volunteer responding to tornadoes in Ohio gets a glimpse at the hidden value of the work Greyshirts do.

  • Preparedness

    How to Prepare Your Pets for Disaster

    From leashes for Fido to carriers for Kitty, here are our top disaster preparedness for pets tips to add to your emergency planning now.

  • Feature Story

    Serving World Health Means Innovating

    From Haiti to Ukraine, for World Health Day, we look at where we've delivered disaster relief and humanitarian aid over the past 14 years, and how far we have to go.

Read More Stories