As I arrived at the meet up location with my trusty sidekick BQ, a service dog with a knack for encouraging pets and cuddles out of even the crankiest of folks, I was impressed by the enormous turn out of people that showed up to help out the community of Westwood.
I was handed a map of the area we would be covering for the day. The task that was to be covered for the day seemed impossible. Blocks upon blocks of alley clean up, graffiti removal, garden planting and road clean ups lay ahead. It seemed like an incredible feat, despite the hundreds of volunteers that showed up to participate. But after announcements and grabbing my lunch, I hit the road with the pup to interact and interview and help the ambitous volunteers that chose to dedicate their beautiful Saturdays to helping the community of the Westwood neighborhood. I chose to talk to a couple volunteers with Team Rubicon, who were determined to complete an extensive amount of alleys before the day ended.
Team Rubicon is a Veteran operated volunteer organization dedicate to providing disaster relief as well as helping provide veterans with the transition from military service to the civilan life by providing purpose, community, and leadership development. As I am also a veteran dealing with transition, this volunteer group really caught my attention for the day.
I had to really beg Jordon Daniel, a Team Rubicon Team Leader to pull himself away from the project for a few minutes to talk to me as he was motivated and determined to get as many alleys cleaned as he could by the end of the day. My immediate impression was his tenacity for the project at hand. But luckily for me, I was able to talk to him for a few minutes about his Team Rubicon and their participation in Extreme Community Makeover. As I was brought aware that their usual volunteer participation is on a much larger scale in tragic disaster relief projects such as earthquakes and floods, I wondered how they percieved ECM, and how they got involved. Jordon discussed it has less to do with how big the project is and more importantly the impact that their team can make and how it can provide the “need to serve” that many veterans crave after exiting the military service. I was deeply moved by Jordon Daniel’s extreme dedication to ECM and his team’s massive efforts to help the Westwood Community. It was amazing to see a group of people who truly are dedicated to helping out communities in need despite how big or small the project may seem.
– Deanna, ECM Communications Team