Team Rubicon Goes Domestic; Forms Localized Veteran Emergency Response Teams (VERTs)

TR addresses two significant problems: poor veteran reintegration and inadequate disaster response, using each to solve the other. TR helps victims of disasters with efficient veteran emergency response teams, all the while giving veterans a new community, purpose and sense of self.

In April 2011, after founding member Clay Hunt took his own life, the non-profit organization Team Rubicon (TR) made some drastic changes to its mission. A veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Clay had a difficult time transitioning back into civilian life. As a disaster response organization that utilized the skills of veterans, Team Rubicon saw the impact that continued service had on veterans like Clay—they often reported a stronger sense of purpose and self-worth after a disaster response.

Previously, TR had only responded to international disasters. But with Clay’s tragedy, the organization decided the best way to both engage more veterans and help with their transition was to take a more grassroots approach. TR-Domestic (TR-D) was born, and the focus of the organization shifted from the disaster victim to the veteran. Since then, TR has formed Veteran Emergency Response Teams (VERTs), organized into ten regions across the country. Following the geographic model created by FEMA, each region has its own volunteer leadership team, responsible for organizing local disaster response missions, community service projects, team-building events and fundraisers.

TR-D’s goals include: providing top-tier disaster response capabilities that augment federal and local authorities; developing a community of post 9/11 veterans through continued service; providing meaningful community service projects; implementing a training pipeline that provides valuable skills to veterans looking to transition into emergency services. Since establishing TR-D, the organization has deployed on 15 domestic missions to nine states. Additional accomplishments include: deployed 144 veterans on domestic missions, for a total of 8,500 volunteer hours; added 2000 volunteers to the deployment database; opened four offices in LA, Kansas City, NYC, and Portland; conducted 11 service projects spanning nine states, with partners including Habitat for Humanity, Clinton Global Initiative and Operation Gratitude; hosted over 50 community events spanning 12 states; facilitated 1447 training hours for domestic disaster response; and trained 15 Regional Directors and 9 state coordinators.

Today, Team Rubicon stands ready for whatever the world throws its way, with over 2,500 military veteran volunteers from across the United States ready to deploy at a moments notice to conduct search and rescue, debris clearing, and home repair. After participating in a TR event, former Air Force Airman Gary Washington writes: “After the war is done and we come home from the fight, it is hard for some of us to find our way. We who strode the earth like giants and lived to tell the tales of Honor, Courage, and Commitment find it hard to come home and be just another cog in the machine. It is very, very lonely. We look everywhere for some form of help, but the veteran support groups can only help so much. Team Rubicon gives us the one thing a lot of other groups can’t give us: purpose.”

More About This Charity




Small Charity of the Year, Disaster Relief and International Aid


Team Rubicon


Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with medical professionals to rapidly deploy emergency response teams into crisis situations.


  • This Achievement raised $662,278
  • This charity raised $770,493 in the past year
  • This Achievement helped 3,500 people
  • This charity helped 3,800 people in the past year
  • 8,500 volunteer hours conducted by Veteran Emergency Response Teams

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