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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.
WOW. Now that I have decompressed a little bit from our recent work in PaP, it's time for me to reflect a little on what we did, and try and hold on to the compassion and dedication that bonded us all together as members of Team Rubicon 1.
In the midst of the worst devastation and suffering I have ever seen (and I've seen enough to last me quite a while), I saw many awe-inspiring actions and events take place every single day, and almost every minute we were there. While I saw sadness, grief and despair far flung and widespread, I saw other things that gave me comfort and hope. I saw the smiles of hundreds of children, the gratitude of their parents and siblings, and feelings of peace and reassurance expressed by all of our patients. These people are suffering horribly, but we were able to bring them assurance: that there are people in the world who care enough about them that we are willing to risk our own health and safety just to come help them, and treat them in their darkest hour. We were able to bring peace to so many: the people who we met know that they will not be forgotten by the outside world, and that we will be there again when and where they need us. That was truly amazing to be a part of, and was humbling and reassuring to us all. Being able to come together with the other members of this team and accomplish a common goal, under the circumstances we were faced with is beyond comprehension to me. How I found the team on my own is a story in itself, I'll just say it was sketchy at best, but I found 'em and was able to get to work within 3 hours of landing at PaP airport, and I'll never forget the relief I felt when I found the Team and they needed another set of hands. Certain events that helped us continue our mission happened right when they needed to-We needed a vehicle we could use as an ambulance; poof, it was there and we were able to put it to use. We needed a place to set up, and all of a sudden we had a garage that was perfect to use as a triage/wound care/OR clinic. Whatever we needed pretty much just fell in our hands. What we needed most were experienced, smart, selfless people who were willing to accept certain personal risks in order to accomplish the goals of Team Rubicon. They quietly showed up and asked for no real recognition whatsoever, and were more than ready to help. I will hold these men and women in my heart forever.
On a personal level, I found more in Port Au Prince than I knew I was missing. I cannot tell you how good it feels to be able to go into a rubble strewn city in a third world country, and to be able to do good without wondering if everybody is about to start shooting at you. I found a renewed sense of purpose for myself that has been missing since I separated from the USMC, and I found myself in the company of a band of brothers once again- absolutely priceless. I was able to treat and to help provide reassurance to the many patients I saw- whether it was just dressing changes, wound cleaning and care, or setting a young man's broken arm so that It will heal correctly. I was constantly challenged, out of my element from a medical standpoint, and Doc Griz, Mark, Zak, Seth, Karem- you were always ready to teach me so that I could do it on my own the next time. Thank you for that.
Lastly, and I'm still mulling it over, were my experiences observing and talking with Brother Jim. Jim, you've inspired me with your wisdom, serenity, willingness to act, absolute absence of fear, and compassion towards everyone you meet. I feel very lucky to have gotten to know you. Thank you for all you did for us.
Team Rubicon 1, we did a magnificent job, with little resources, and their are thousands of lives that have been saved or made better because of our work. Don't let that memory slip away from you, and turn to it when doing the right thing seems impossible, or just inconvenient. I now count you all as family, and I can't wait to work together once again.
Jake- your leadership, insight, and presence of mind continue to amaze me. Much love, brother.