Last week Team Rubicon volunteers met an elderly man trying to clear debris from in front his home. They approached him — not knowing that this man would touch their hearts forever.
The volunteers learned the life of Moore, Okla., resident Gerald Hanes — a Vietnam veteran. Military has been a long tradition in his family that began with his father that served in World War II. Sadly, Gerald was only one year old when his father passed away during that war. That didn’t deter Gerald from enlisting in the U.S. Navy where he was stationed on several different destroyers through his career. All his sons became Marines, as well as a grandson who is currently deployed in Afghanistan. Four generations of the Hanes family served (and are continuing to serve) their country.
“That’s just a little bit of the story of Gerald,” said Air Force Veteran Sergio Rivera, a TR volunteer. “He is one of the most down-to-earth, sweetest people I’ve ever met. Gerald never thought he would be on the receiving end of getting such help from anybody.”
“They are like my kids — they are priceless,” expressed Hanes. “They adopted me like I am their grandpa. We share many things in common that they learned from me when I share old stories with them.”
Bill Rushford, a TR volunteer and former firefighter, listened to the life of Gerald Hanes and how throughout Gerald’s life he has always been helping people in need. “He felt lost, so I told him ‘Today, we are going to take care of you. Gerald couldn’t stop thanking us enough — the funny thing was — we couldn’t stop thank him because he opened up his heart to us like he did.”
After two days of work, Team Rubicon successfully completed gutting the inside his home which will help begin the rebuilding process. “Team Rubicon,” said Hanes, “are always ready with a kind word, although this is not the best situation to be in, they make it the best!”
On the last day of the job, Team Rubicon volunteers presented Hanes with an American flag signed by the team. It is to honor Hanes for his sacrifices and the amazing life he has shared with his country.