Warrior Wellness Alliance is Critical to Veteran Care
Peer-to-peer networks are crucial to helping veterans reconnect to society once they hang up their military uniforms. These warriors face challenges and they need to feel they have a person or group of individuals they can confide in. It’s also critical that our warriors know where to turn and seek care for their visible and invisible wounds.
At Team Rubicon we unite the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Disasters are our business. Veterans are our passion. The strength of Team Rubicon is its membership. Through the action of being part of Team Rubicon, warriors redefine their sense of purpose, rejoin a community, and reshape their identity. As a disaster response organization, personal readiness is paramount to our organizational success. Others are depending on us as responders. This highlights a critical investment we must make to ensure we are prepared to deploy. The spectrum ranges from being physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and professionally ready.
We have partnered with the George W. Bush Institute Warrior Wellness Alliance to break down barriers for veterans. This alliance provides warriors the tools they need to connect with the right care providers in their area. The Warrior Wellness Alliance is also starting to bridge the gap between peer-to-peer networks and care providers.
The peer aspect of our culture really comes to life in the field. There is no rank in Team Rubicon – just assignments, tasks, and a spirit of service. Imagine you’re on a disaster response operation with Team Rubicon. You hit the field with 50 fellow volunteers who, like you, made a commitment to be there when disaster strikes. From dawn to dusk you work together towards a common objective for the day. You knock out daunting jobs, impossible to achieve alone. When the body is occupied, the mind clears and more often than not, the tongue loosens.
Bonds are forged deep in debris and hard work. When the day concludes, you head back to the designated base and clean up, debrief, and relax with the team. Imagine the power of that debrief. Men and women from across the globe, from all walks of life and branches of service, now friends, sharing sea stories and memories around an evening bonfire while chowing down on a well-earned meal; talking, remembering, encouraging. We cultivate an environment of trust and respect, but it is also earned. Peers, rather than managers, or formally appointed leaders, are the ones most influential when we are in need of a nudge, referral, or recommendation. Who do you trust most?
However, not every warrior is fortunate to have these experiences. That is why it is critical for organizations to promote connection between veterans, and for veterans to seek care. It is imperative that we break down the barriers together and support our veterans.
Pat Ross III is the deputy director of membership at Team Rubicon
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