Some folks are born with a commitment to service – and that’s an apparent trait displayed in one Cornville Legionnaire. A proud Vietnam veteran, Jan Allbright, understands the term “boots on the ground” and continues that “fever” by being a member of Team Rubicon (TR).
Not familiar with TR, it’s an organization that came into existence in Jan. 2010 - just eight short years ago and has grown to international strength! It was founded after the 7.8 magnitude earth-quake shook Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
In the days following that earthquake, many traditional aid organizations were slow to establish relief efforts, citing dangerous and unstable working conditions; troubled by the scenes in Port-au-Prince and the lack of proper aid, two Marines, Jake Wood and William McNulty, decided to act. Gathering supplies and volunteers, the small group of veterans, first responders, and medical professionals deployed to Haiti in the days following the earthquake.
Still not sure about the name Team Rubicon” – you’ll need to travel back to when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River 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.
As that little band of x-patriots crossed over the Artibonite River, the natural border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the small team of eight volunteers called themselves “Team Rubicon” in reference to the Rubicon River in Rome – by crossing their Rubicon, the team acknowledged they were irrevocably committed to their task of helping those in need; thus, Team Rubicon was born!
Team Rubicon takes life
Team Rubicon is structured along the same regional breakdown as the Federal Emergency Management Agency with 10 regions within the United States. In the past eight years natural disasters have occurred in every developed (and undeveloped) country, big and small. The TR volunteers who make up these committed groups are roughly 70-percent 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 TR member, nor is it required. Many volunteers are pulled from the civil service sector, firefighters, medical professionals, law enforcement officers, teachers, and mental health providers are among the diverse careers.
According to Allbright who is the 2nd Vice Commander at the American Legion Cornville Post 135, says he first became aware of the organization in 2015 through his wife, Nancy. The next two years, he spent his free time completing required classes.
His first operation with Team Rubicon was “Hard Hustle” in Houston helping people recover from the hurricane. The second operation was “Old Breed 2” in Southern California helping people cleanup after the Lilac fire. “On both of these occasions,” he said, “I was assigned to the “Strike Team” – that’s were you do the actual hands on.”
“And, on both deployments, I was greeted as a long lost brother by the guys and gals of Team Rubicon. I worked like a dog, fell into bed exhausted and loved every minute of it.” He went on to say,” it was great to work along-side a group of highly motivated individuals with a solid “mental” mission; something I really miss from the years in the Army”.
Allbright responded to “Hard Hustle” during this past Thanksgiving week, while Old Breed 2 was over the holiday season. Like in the military, disasters don’t take holidays and the call to respond come at any time!
Allbright is absolutely convinced that if Team Rubicon had been around 50 years ago when he first returned from Vietnam, he would not have experienced as many re-adjustment issues.
Future plans for Allbright? Team Rubicon stands ready and able to respond to all disasters – he assumes that once the mud-slides have been stabilized in Santa Barbara there will be a deployment call up and he says he’ll be there! In the meantime, he’s furthering his studies and hopes to move into the Incident Management Team.
The only prerequisite required for volunteering with Team Rubicon is a commitment to service. As a “Greyshirt”, Team Rubicon members are responsible for providing immediate and impactful aid to communities affected by disaster. Experience is not required. Allbright explained that disaster relief requires a breadth of skillsets and experience, but for the “unskilled” there are various training tracks – from chainsaw operation to heavy equipment to disaster technology.
International organizations take a lot of funding – surprisingly, Team Rubicon’s funding comes from individual donors, corporations, foundations, trusts, and businesses - 49 percent - foundation/nonprofit; 17 percent individual; and 34 percent business/corp. They don’t accept any public grants or government funding. So, in order to continue their mission of engaging veterans in disaster relief, they truly rely on individual donors. When you join the TR Nation, you’re making a big impact - an international organization that publicly touts a money back guarantee!
For more information concerning Team Rubicon and their operations or to join go to: https://teamrubiconusa.org/contact. American Legion information may be obtained by contacting the Cmdr. Jeri Strande at 928-649-3374.