What do retired Marines do? Like retirees from any profession, a variety of things. But one thing remains consistent among all of them: They are Marines. And when disaster strikes, an inner voice tugs at their hearts to do something about it.
That’s what happened to Jake Wood and William McNulty in 2010 when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. With as many as 300,000 deaths and 1.5 million people displaced, the fallout called to the two veteran Marines to ease some of the pain. They grabbed six of their fellow Marines, raised funds, gathered equipment from friends and family and bought a ticket to the Dominican Republic. From there, they drove westward to Haiti.
Their lives changed the moment they crossed into Haiti. The wreckage, the carnage all struck their hearts and they immediately committed to helping those devastated by it.
They formed an organization and named it Team Rubicon, a reference to Julius Caesar’s crossing of the river Rubicon to conquer Rome. It drew from their experience crossing the Artibonite River, the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
According to Team Rubicon’s website, “They treated thousands of patients, traveling to camps deemed ‘too dangerous’ by other aid organizations. They ventured outside the traditional scale of disaster response, focusing on those who would be overlooked, untreated.”
In other words, they put their military training to excellent humanitarian use.
Since then, Team Rubicon has grown from eight Marines to include people from all branches of the U.S. military. Organization members focus on helping people following disasters both internationally, as in Haiti, and domestically, in the Southeast after recent ruinous thunderstorms, for example.
The goal isn’t only to help others, though. Another component to Team Rubicon’s model is helping veterans themselves transition from military life back to the civilian world.
The website states, “Through continued service, Team Rubicon seeks to provide our veterans with three things after leaving the military: a purpose, gained through disaster relief; community, built by serving with others; and self-worth, from recognizing the impact one individual can make.”
Love the mission of Team Rubicon? Check out its website — teamrubiconusa.org — for information on how you can become involved or donate.