In the middle of May, just before going to Vegas for Bloggers in Sin City, I quietly celebrated the 10 year anniversary of my initial Army enlistment. I’ve spent a whole decade as a journalist for the Virginia National Guard, which seems like a crazy thing because I’m still alarmed that I’m old enough to have been anything for a decade that requires adulthood. I’m not sure how I got to the doorstep of 30 so quickly, or how it’s already been 10 years since scared 19-year-old me signed her life away to the Army. Life moves quickly sometimes, I guess.
For some people, who know the super liberal me, it’s hard to rationalize my military service with my strongly held, mostly liberal, political convictions, but the thing I love about this country is that it’s founded on some absolutely incredible ideas. And that’s what matters to me. America loves freedom, and even though we’re sometimes not super great about implementing those freedoms for all citizens, we’re still all about the freedom and if you give us enough time we tend to come to our senses and realize that change won’t destroy our society and that evolution as a nation is a good thing.
So, I really love America. I love it enough to recognize its faults and still have faith that it will come to its senses and I love it enough that I’d die for it, because at the end of the day, I believe in this country. And that’s why I joined the military to begin, because I love this country and I believe it and because 9/11 absolutely broke my heart and because it sounded like a grand adventure, and it has been.
Since I hit a military milestone this month, I wanted to donate to a military charity and I’ve picked Team Rubicon, recommended to me by the amazing Suebob, who I’ve had the good fortune to meet in real life. Team Rubicon “unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams,” which means military veterans get to use their military skills to help people in need, which sounds pretty awesome to me.
From Team Rubicon’s website:
Team Rubicon Saves Lives.
Since its creation in January 2010, TR has impacted thousands of lives – in Haiti, Chile, Burma, Pakistan, Sudan, and here at home, in Vermont, Maryland, Missouri, and Alabama. TR reaches victims outside the scope of where traditional aid organizations venture; victims on the fringe.
Team Rubicon Engages Veterans.
Hundreds of US military veterans, many returning home after fighting ten years of war, find a renewed sense of purpose for their skills and experiences through TR.
Team Rubicon Sets Itself Apart In the Nonprofit World.
Is it a disaster relief organization? A veteran-focused enterprise? The truth is it’s both. TR pioneered a new paradigm in disaster response while redefining the meaning of veteran reintegration into society.
Team Rubicon Pioneered the Concept of Veteran-Focused Disaster Response.
On the streets of Port-au-Prince, in the immediate aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, TR’s military veterans realized a simple truth – natural disasters present many of the same problems that confront troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: unstable populations, limited resources, horrific sights, sounds and smells. The skills cultivated on those same battlefields – emergency medicine, risk assessment and mitigation, teamwork and decisive leadership – are invaluable in disaster zones.
For every month of 2013, I’m donating $100 to a different charity, and I’ve named it the Giving Year.
Previous months in the Giving Year: