Okay, Veterans Day has come and gone. But, surely you can hear one more story.
On January 17th, 2010, a group of military vets defied all the world aid bureaucrats, and all official warnings, and deployed into Haiti and began to immediately provide medical aid and bring food and water to hurricane victims. These vets were in there before UN aid workers, before FEMA, before anyone.
"When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon at the head of his legions and marched on Rome, it marked a point of no return. The phrase "crossing the Rubicon" has since survived in reference to any group committing itself to a risky course of action. On January 17th, 2010, despite government and large aid organization's advice not to proceed, Team Rubicon members crossed the Artibonite River separating the Dominican Republic and Haiti, carrying crucial gear and medical supplies to the people of Port-au-Prince. Once across, they were irrevocably committed to their task. Hence the name: Team Rubicon"
This small band of rescuers, Team Rubicon, has now grown as an organization...they now number in the thousands, all military vets who, having forced to transition from a "values-based" organization like the military into "for profit" business jobs, have found something lacking in their lives...the need to continue to serve their communities as well as folks all around the world suffering from a natural disaster.
Team Rubicon has, in the past two years alone, deployed to natural disaster sites around the world. Their motto is "bridge the gap"...fill the void between disaster and the time governments and relief organizations can gin up their aid operations.
And these valiant vets have been there, in Africa, in Haiti, in Joplin, Missouri following a tornado, anywhere where folks are sitting stunned by death and loss. And where they're not providing emergency relief for disaster victims, they're rebuilding homes for disaster vets and joining Habitat for Humanity to build homes for folks who've never owned one.
One of the greatest challenges for those who leave the military is trying to fit what you did in the military to a civilian resume. How does one convince a Human Resource Manager that you can "do the job?" How much does loyalty count? How many points do we get for courage? For honor? For guys used to putting in 20 hour duty days? Sadly, most business folks just don' t get it. They don't understand that we managed budgets, that at the age of 25 we supervised a hundred people, that "mission", whether it be taking that hill, or capturing "market share" is well within our capabilities to achieve.
So, hundreds of thousands of us come home, and we apply for a job, and we fill out our resumes, and we don't get the job because we don't have a degree in business. Too bad. Businesses turn away some of the greatest leaders they could ever hope to find.
So Team Rubicon was born. Their mission and their work provides that "values-based" work that is sorely missed by vets when they leave the military.
And who is better at responding to chaos...a FEMA bureaucrat..or someone who has known the fog of war...who lives with chaos every hour of every day?
So, relax America....your military AND your ex-military are on the job. If you're a victim of a flood, or an earthquake, or a hurricane or a tornado, or if someone's building you a house, or repairing one, don't be surprised if the first help you see are wearing those gray T-shirts with Team Rubicon emblazoned across their chest.