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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.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Article about our Doctors Griswell

See here

Saturday, January 30, 2010

TR Operations Cease in Haiti

Team Rubicon operations have ceased inside the nation of Haiti. The leadership within Rubicon has come to the conclusion that Team Rubicon has completed its mission of bridging the gap between the earthquake and large aid agency response. As of 1900 hours local, TR2 began travelling back to the US, with a small contingent of volunteers remaining behind to continue working at CDTI Hospital (under no affiliation with Team Rubicon).

James, our translator

I interviewed this young man, He was translating for us at the hospital. What a story he told. More later!

Post Op

Tents at the hospital (where Glenn and Zac worked all night!)  after the surgeries are complete, the patients move to tents before being discharged.

Waiting for the plane home

Glenn Pinson

Glenn Pinson, paramedic worked all night at the hospital. The French team left the hospital at 7 pm with no report to anyone on the patients they were caring for--Glenn and Zach worked all night, giving medications, and care to the patients.

As we say back home in Texas, this boy is plumb tuckered out!

Brad, Gregg, Dr. Griz going home

Sitting at the airport--headed home.

Rubicon 2 OUT

Our misson is finished. Last pic, headed to airport in tap taps, more to follow.


Another patient

Another patient that came to camp this morning.

Dr. Plaster cleaning a cut

Today most of us are pulling out.
 Here Dr Mark Plaster is cleaning a cut on a child that came to our cp this morning.

Brother Jim Boynton,SJ

Yesterday was the first time in my life that I had to get rid of a dead body.
Today was the first time in my life I had to get rid of a live one. Fee Fee was discharged from the hospital today; she has no home, family, or friends, appears to be in her 80' s, and is in full torso splint. We all knew that to put her on the street would mean death, and for some reason all the nursing staff decided she was my responsibility. After feeling helpless for a few minutes we loaded her into the back of a tap tap truck, and I had our driver take us on a wild ride that eventually ended at the missionaries of charity's convent. Fee Fee is not on the street tonight.

Brother Jim Boynton,SJ

Friday, January 29, 2010

Donations to the Haitian Academy

top photo: Dr. Marie Pologne Jacques Rene, president of the Haitian Academy, with 2 of their physcians, express gratitude for the supplies given by members of Team Rubicon.

Grace Bon Dieu

"Thanks to God" written on dirty windshield.


Dr Griswell donates several thousand dollars worth of medications that he brought to Haiti, to the clinic at the orphanage.  Oh yes, they are happy to see us!

Trying to Get an OpEd Published

The original members of Team Rubicon have been in the process of drafting an Opinion-Editorial about the manner in which we responded to the Haiti disaster, and how that model can serve to improve the current status quo at large aid organizations.

Ultimately, what we write will have to stand or fall on it's own merits, but we want to make sure that it doesn't immediately get shuffled to the "discard" pile. I think you, as our readers and supporters, understand we are passionate about spreading the word and informing the public on what needs to be done. If you have a connection at the WSJ, NYT, Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, etc, please email: wood.teamrubicon@gmail.com

Thank you for your continued support.

Dr Griz in tap tap

Going to orphanage

Taking supplies to the orphanage

Our mission is winding down, we are taking leftover supplies in this truck to an orphanage to leave at their clinic.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Daily Reflections

Every day we hear the common story of people who want us to hire them for translators, workers, or anything possible.  Most of this large city is homeless, without work, and in grief.  The tent cities everywhere are improving in some ways, and deteriorating in others.  After driving through the city several times today I became aware of just how long the rebuilding process is going to take. 

The rabbits are wild now.

When I was here in November the rabbits were in cages and received food and water every day. Other than perhaps ending up in a stew pot once in awhile, they had no worries. After their cages were destroyed in the earthquake they would huddle together and were easily caught. They now run around, find their own food, and seem to have forgotten their old life.

Tents outside the hospital

In this photo you see the tents surrounding the hospital where the hospital places overflow patients. Today Team Rubicon removed 2 dead bodies from a tent that was making the odor unbearable for the other patients. We did it as a favor to Dr Henderson (at the hospital) as she has helped us so much by admitting our patients and getting them to surgery.

Things are looking better

Today we scoured the city to no avail. No trauma patients, and clinics are set up every where. Tommorow we go a town 3 hours away where we hear there are many people still untreated and with many fractured bones.

Brother Jim Boynton,SJ

My dad and I play a game. He will fill up the truck with leaves or trash, give me the keys and tell me to get rid of it with no questions asked. When I get home he gets the keys, a smile and an empty truck. Today was the first time I played the game with a dead body. We had a shovel and were ready for any thing, but at the last moment we found a morgue that was just like a Haitian tap-tap taxi... Always room for one more...
Brother Jim Boynton,SJ

American Airlines Listens to Team Rubicon Followers!

January 20, 2010

Dear Mr. Wood:

We have received word of the excess baggage charges that were applied to your trip to Santo Domingo. We very much appreciate the work that you and your team are doing for the people of Haiti.

Clearly there are times when exceptions to our baggage policies should be made, and this is quite obviously one of those times. We have refunded the baggage charge that you paid. If there are other team members who need to be refunded, kindly have them contact me at www.aa.com/customerrelations. Be sure that they reference my name in their message.

Operations Are Winding Down

Please be aware that Team Rubicon is now implementing plans to begin winding down operations inside Haiti. We have reached this decision because we have successfully helped "bridge the gap" between disaster and large NGO response. Large aid organizations now have the full weight of their might behind their logistics and operations, thus rendering us ineffective.

Please be aware that all contributions from this point WILL NOT be directly benefiting the relief effort in Haiti.

HOWEVER, Team Rubicon has decided to continue changing the face of disaster response. We promise to provide you, our donors and supporters, full transparency as we move forward to prepare for the next disaster, wherever it may strike in the world. This will be an ongoing and evolving process, but you can expect to remain fully informed throughout its development.

Anyone Have Ins at the State Department?

From "TraumaBob":
Hi,This is traumabob. I deployed with team Rubicon for 6 days. I was extremely dissapointed with the state departments treatment of volunteers leaving Haiti. They made us sign a promissary note promising to pay 300-400 dollars to leave Haiti on a military cargo plane to Florida. These planes came in with food/cargo and were leaving empty anyway to restock in Florida. When we found this out, we were going to leave and travel to DR for a plane out. We were then misinformed that the form was only for loans for people once the arrived in Florida and needed money to go further on their trip. After our bags were loaded, another state department employee demanded the promissary note stating we were going to be charged for the flight. At that point we had no choice because our bags were already stowed so we took the flight. I am extremely dissapointed in our State department.
One thing that Team Rubicon WILL do is continue to expose the ridiculous policies of our Government, large NGOs, the US Military, etc. Please, if you have a connection, ask the State Department why volunteers are being forced to foot the bill for empty flights to the States.

Jake Wood, Team Rubicon Co-Founder

Patients are seeking us out

top photo This young woman, shown here with Robin Houghton RN, came to our camp this morning for treatment.

bottom photo Gregg LaVeau, stayed in camp today to treat patients that keep coming in.

Dr. Griz resupplying

Dr Griz getting supplies from our outdoor stores.

Our local help

One of many of the things your donations are going to are these local Haitians whom we hire as drivers and interpreters.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Clarification of Criticisms

I would like to take a moment and clarify our position on criticizing three entities operating in Haiti.

Tap Tap

Paramedic Glenn Pinson in back of tap tap going out on mission

Army Medic John Sakmann saving a foot

...in a back alley ( high on a mountain side no less)

Trying to save a foot

Dr Griswell and other team members trying to save a foot of a young Haitian.

Today's prep

At the church parking lot, paramedic Glenn Pinson and Zach Smith

Steep mountain trail

This is the path we took going back down the mountain today.

I think she likes me!

We treated her father for crushing injuries from the quake.

Zach Smith with children treated high on the mountain side!

End of day debriefing

Gary and Mac, end of day

We treated 200+ patients today

Today we went to a church and set up in the parking lot as a funeral was in service. These people were waiting under homemade tents waiting to be seen.

Brad Ratliff with a young girl we treated

Hatian residents line up

Many people still need to be seen by medical professionals

New location, more patients

We hiked way up a steep mountain side and found and treated about 40 people!

Zach treats a wounded foot

Angie treats a fractured arm

Street clinic

Members of Team Rubicon treating patients at a street clinic set up in a church parking lot.

St. Ignatius' Prayer for Generosity

Br. Jim Boynton SJ leads the team every morning and evening in prayer

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

Jesuit Novice Edmund Lo Reports from Haiti

Snagged from http://archbishopterry.blogspot.com/

A couple of Canadian Jesuit Novices Edmund and Artur arrived in Haiti a few days before the 'quake. Edmund has been blogging about it and sent me a copy of his reflections. This is the latest, dated January 23:

Artur and I had relocated to another Jesuit community- the novitiate, to better aid the relief effort. Sleeping in tents because buildings are unsafe. Artur does things (LOTS of things) around the novitiate, including moving boxes of aid and doing inventory things, while I head out with a team of (mostly) American physicians, firefighters, medics and ex-marines everyday to help in areas where medical attention is needed.

The man who started this with a Facebook post asking for volunteers.

Jake Wood is a natural leader. Personality, character, and physical presence. I would follow him anywhere. Jake and I are preparing an After Action Report to capture the lessons learned from Team Rubicon's first deployment. Lingering question: Can the Rubicon model be employed in other disaster situations? We think so.

William McNulty
Team Rubicon Co-Founder

The team

Dr Griswell, Robin Houghton, RN, and Dr Joseph, just before the storm

Glenn Pinson treats eye injury in a young boy

We didn't expect to deliver babies!

This woman came to the compound for help--fortunately Dr. Griswell was available.

Additional photos from Day 1

At the Manresa refugee camp on Day 1, Team Rubicon's Mark Hayward watches as his patient plays Flight of the Hamsters on Hayward's iPhone. The patient was later evac'd for immediate surgery.