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Life After Near-Death

In 2010, I died. I was without oxygen for 10 minutes, and without a heartbeat for five minutes. The likelihood of meaningful survival was so low that it wasn’t even worth calculating, but I did it.

Though I experienced a miracle, I longer fit into my old life. A dear friend told me that I must have survived for some big purpose, some special reason. I’d been a hospital pharmacist for decades, and it defined who I was. But my old life wasn’t working anymore. In that 10 minutes, I had become a different person.

I quit pharmacy and went back to school. I was adrift, I was severely depressed, I barely left the house, I refused to speak on the phone to anyone for months at a time. What was my special purpose? Why had I survived the unsurvivable?



In September 2017, hurricanes were everywhere. I felt called to do something. But what? A friend posted on Facebook about Team Rubicon. I immediately inhaled as much online training as I could find. I joined with the intention of doing International Medical ops, I didn’t think I’d be strong enough to be useful doing any of the other awesome things I saw Greyshirts doing. I applied for Puerto Rico’s medical operation, but I received an invite to go to Rockport’s forward operating base for Tr’s response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

I couldn’t sleep the night before my flight. I was scared that I wouldn’t be worth what Team Rubicon paid for my ticket, and I was just plain scared. The moment I found other Greyshirts at the Houston Airport, and I met Dave Gleason, I began to relax and enjoy the camaraderie. After a stop at Area Command, we arrived at the FOB just before lights out. Sue Johnson made us feel welcome and right at home within minutes of our arrival.

That week at FOB Marley was life-changing. The work-day was physically and emotionally hard, all-consuming, and engrossing. I learned new skills and I sweat more than I thought was possible. But at the end of the day, it was like summer camp, with new friends, acceptance, and love all around the fire pit. I came home exhausted, but looking and feeling 10 years younger than the week before I left for Rockport. Everyone at home noticed the change. I was glowing, I was smiling again. I am so proud to be a Team Rubicon volunteer, a part of the TRibe. With each deployment, it’s become ever clearer to me that Team Rubicon IS my great purpose. I have found my place in the world, my small role to play, and it is exactly where I am meant to be. I can’t make a lasting mark on the world as a solitary person, but I can be a part of something larger, more incredible, and more positive than I ever imagined!

Laura Block is former Pharmacist and EMT. She currently serves as a City Coordinator for Team Rubicon.