Late in the summer of 2017, a seemingly never-ending stream of natural disasters hit the United States — in Houston, Florida, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and California. When disaster struck in Houston, a dedicated organization of veterans jumped in to lend a hand — many hands. In crisis, Team Rubicon sees an opportunity to help veterans dealing with emotional issues during the transition from wartime to civilian life by allowing them to use their skills to help those in need at home.
YouTube megastar Casey Neistat highlighted the organization’s great work in Houston. Neistat’s in-laws were seriously affected by Hurricane Harvey. Neistat travelled to a different area of Houston and interviewed Team Rubicon members on the ground. Here’s how they described the work they do, and how it changes both veterans and the people they help.
Team Rubicon is aptly named for the river in Italy at which Roman soldiers were required by tradition to lay down their arms to return to civilian life. The organization helps American veterans making the same transition.
According to its website, the organization focuses on helping homeowners who do not have insurance or other means to cope when disaster strikes. Team Rubicon offers a myriad of free services from damage assessment to cleanup and quick home repair. The organization often serves as on-the-ground organizers of other volunteers. Its members serve in disasters here in the United States and around the world.
Who are Team Rubicon volunteers? I’ll let the organization tell you:
Roughly 70% of Team Rubicon volunteers are military veterans. Many of the skills gained in the military – things like emergency medicine, small-unit leadership, logistics, experience in austere environments – translate well to disaster response. Military service does not define a Team Rubicon member, nor is it required. Many of our volunteers are pulled from the civil service sector. Firefighters, medical professionals, law enforcement officers, teachers, and mental health providers are among the diverse careers held by TR volunteers.
The only prerequisite required for volunteering with Team Rubicon is a commitment to service. As a Greyshirt, you will be responsible for providing immediate and impactful aid to communities affected by disaster. If you are willing to raise your hand to help those in need, we’re ready to get you in a grey shirt.
Disaster relief requires a breadth of skillsets and experience. Team Rubicon offers various training tracks – from chainsaw operation to heavy equipment to disaster technology – to our members. If you consider yourself “unskilled” don’t worry, we’ll train you up.
This Veterans Day, it is important to remember to thank veterans not only for the work they did to protect this nation, but also for the work many continue to do through organizations like Team Rubicon. These veterans prove that for them, service is a lifetime commitment.
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Robert Eno is the director of research for Conservative Review. He is a conservative from deep blue Massachusetts but now lives in Greenville, SC.