NOAA labeled it “extremely active,” spinning off 17 named storms and 10 official hurricanes, two of which were the first to hit the continental U.S. in 12 years. Compared to an average 11 storms per year, that does seem extremely active.
But the silver lining, if you choose to accept it, is the unprecedented wave of altruism that emerged during those three tumultuous months. Social media was flooded with images of daring rescues, tearful reunions, and selfless acts of kindness, proving week after week, there really are good people in the world.
It’s actually not that unusual, despite mass quantities of Instagram evidence that says otherwise. Studies by science types have found people’s first impulse is to cooperate rather than compete, and that when people behave altruistically, their brains activate in regions that signal pleasure and reward, similar to when they eat chocolate.
Well that explains a lot.
Now that I have your attention, let me tell you about the badasses taking altruism to a whole new level. Team Rubicon (TR) is a California-based nonprofit that trains veterans, first responders, and kick-ass civilians in disaster relief, providing boots-on-the-ground support for communities in their darkest days. They’re the final recipient of Chive Charities’ $25,000 hurricane relief grants, money raised by the ever-faithful Chive Nation. We heart y’all more than you know.
Team Rubicon’s area of expertise is manpower, specifically veteran volunteers, who take over the unpleasant tasks of “mucking and gutting” structures and removing debris so residents can focus their time and money on rebuilding their lives.
It’s hard work. It’s dirty, it’s tiring, it pushes the limits of human endurance in more ways than one, but for veterans looking to serve after serving, it’s perfect.
“There are over 22 million veterans living in the United States,” explained Jennifer Mangali, Senior Development Officer at TR. “Their unique skills, experience, and passion for serving others make them America’s greatest national resource.”
Skills you say? We’re talking obvious things like using a chainsaw (did you know that person is called a sawyer? Mind. Blown.) and operating heavy equipment, but also spontaneous volunteer management, first aid, and IT support. Volunteers go through three different training courses and a background check before they can be called a “Greyshirt,” but if 70,000 people across the country have done it, it must be worth the effort.
So. Volunteer labor is awesome. Super helpful. Imagine if someone came in the morning after your New Year’s Eve party and cleaned everything up so you could focus on perfecting your bloody Mary and watching the Rose Bowl? Yes, please.
But it’s not just about manpower. Team Rubicon is kind of “Inception” when it comes to altruism.
Their site states, “By engaging our veterans in continued service through disaster response, not only does Team Rubicon provide relief to affected communities, but many veteran volunteers begin to regain the purpose, community, and identity that is difficult to find upon leaving the armed forces.”
To put it simply:
1. People in disaster zones need help.
2. The people that help them benefit because helping fulfills their desire to continue serving.
3. Everybody wins.
One more thing. Returning to civilian life is challenging, and despite leaving the military with a rucksack full of marketable skills, many veterans struggle finding the right job in the private sector. Through the Clay Hunt Fellows Program, 10-14 volunteers embark on a year-long journey meant to hone their professional skills as leaders within Team Rubicon, and increase their chances of success in the civilian workforce. It’s like a master’s degree in TR badassery.
For Operation Hard Hustle (a.k.a Team Rubicon’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts), 1,762 volunteers logged 139,910 volunteer hours, saving 924 devastated residents of the Houston area approximately $6,720,000 in labor and materials. I’m no mathematician, but that seems like a lot. Well done, Team Rubicon.
From everyone at Chive Charities and theCHIVE, we hope Hurricane Season 2018 is particularly underwhelming, but if it’s not, we’re glad Team Rubicon is ready. Our sincerest thanks to Chive Nation for stepping up when Mother Nature was at her worst. You guys are amazing.
The world is full of good people, but there are true superheroes out there going above and beyond for their fellow man. Are you one of them? Prove it by donating monthly to Chive Charities and joining the Green Ribbon Fund right HERE.
*Team Rubicon photo credits: Kirk Jackson, Jeremy Hinen, Josh Walker, Vanessa Valentine, William McNulty.