Art delaCruz, Team Rubicon President & Chief Operating Officer, shares how the Veteran Wellness Alliance is helping break down the barriers that prevent veterans from getting high-quality care.
Enlisting or commissioning in the armed forces comes with a mile-long contract that says you’re accepting a mission to serve and defend your country—eventually that service comes to an end. Then we go home and start our next campaign. We press and hang up our uniforms, be with our families, and stay in touch with those we served with. But as veterans, we often find we’re searching for our community, our purpose, our identity.
I’ve been with Team Rubicon for nearly five years and have watched countless veterans join and deploy to disaster zones. Team Rubicon empowers veterans with a mission to continue their service for those in need in the wake of disaster or in a crisis like COVID-19. It allows veterans to gain a new community, a renewed purpose, and an identity built on a mission of helping others on their worst days.
As one of 15 organizations in the George W. Bush Institute’s Veteran Wellness Alliance, Team Rubicon is also helping break down the barriers that prevent more veterans from getting connected to high-quality care for the invisible wounds. While mental and brain health is not our primary mission, we know that we must help generate innovative solutions for challenges associated with the invisible wounds so more veterans can thrive.
Military training teaches us how to adapt and overcome in chaotic environments, think clearly under pressure, and get the job done. The same abilities are also valuable tools in a disaster zone. Your military experience and skills are a national asset—not just a plaque or photo to hang on a wall.
Prior to March 2020, Team Rubicon had completed more than 450 responses dating back to our first operation after the 2010 earthquake that rocked Haiti. Since this March, we’ve completed over 320 operations in response to COVID-19, with many more still ongoing. We’ve provided medical backup at hospitals, mobile testing site support, emergency management assistance, and nationwide food support operations, enabling our volunteers, known as Greyshirts, to package over 9.7 million meals.
Currently, Greyshirts are responding to disasters across the country and continue to help with the needs from the pandemic. But we could use reinforcements. We invite you to join us in the field on active operations in response to disasters like the most recent hurricanes in Louisiana and Texas.
At a time when Americans are anxious and worried about where there next meal may come from, veterans can lead by example. Team Rubicon welcomes veterans and nonveterans to wear the Greyshirt and help at a food bank.
Civilians and veterans serving shoulder-to-shoulder help provide leadership and break down barriers challenging a veterans transition from military to civilian life. And Greyshirts who have not served in the armed forces, are learning new skills and connecting with veterans.
The call we answered to charge toward unknown dangers in service of our nation is once again calling you to serve communities here at home. Team Rubicon’s mission is built on this enduring drive to serve, and communities can still use your service, especially now. Like a well-oiled military unit, we’re strengthened by those at our sides. Join us at Team Rubicon and band together once again to lead our communities through this crisis.