I first heard about Team Rubicon when CEO Jake Wood and Team Rubicon were featured on the Delta Flight Magazine last December. I was immediately intrigued by their operational model and statement of purpose, and I thought that this was something that I would want to join and support.
Like most people, I tucked the idea away and went on focusing on my daily routines. Occasionally, I would think about TR and their mission, but the idea would fade and I would get back to whatever I was doing at the time. Team Rubicon just seemed so far away from my small town in Eastern Kentucky.
Everything changed this spring when a tornado hit my little town in Estill County, KY. I volunteered for the Red Cross, who had set up a shelter for people whose homes had been damaged. I was at the shelter when two members of Team Rubicon appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. It turns out they had been here the whole time, but were out in the area providing direct assistance to the community by tarping roofs, cutting trees, hauling debris, and clearing roads. I immediately got their information, and when the Red Cross pulled out I signed up as a spontaneous volunteer for Team Rubicon.
I had an amazing time with Team Rubicon. I really felt that they were making a difference with the individuals in my community. After my first day with TR, I signed up to become a Greyshirt. Soon after I joined, I was at a farm in Kentucky being trained on the use of a chainsaw and getting the certification I would need to use one in the field.
I had never used a chainsaw in my life, but my trainers and the other people there with me gave me the confidence so that by the end of the class, I was sure that I could use a chainsaw for anything needed during an operation. Being veterans, I think we immediately fell into the “teamwork to get the job done” mentality of the military. I really felt comfortable and I knew these people would support me in my training and in the field. Two weeks later I had the chance to go on Operation Stone Hammer.
I have completed my first official operation and I have never felt a greater sense of belonging in my life. I have always felt a little apart from everyone, but Team Rubicon truly feels like coming home.
I met dedicated people who accepted, educated, and encouraged me to help others and myself in a way I did not think was possible. We really are a TRibe and I just wanted to say thank you for giving me a place to belong.