Continue the Mission

It was 2001 and New Yorker columnist Joe Klein was fresh into retirement.  But, that take at retirement would be short-lived. It would soon be September 11, 2001 and as he recounts, nine of his neighbors wouldn’t return home.

Klein spent the next several years covering the war and in his newest book, Charlie Mike (code for Continue the Mission), he explores the lives of veterans who continued their missions of service even after their formal military careers ended.

One of the veterans featured in the book is Jake Wood, co-founder of Team Rubicon. We first came across Jake and Team Rubicon in 2013 when the organization applied for our it Award. We’ve followed them with admiration ever since.

Team Rubicon came into existence in 2010, just days following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Veterans Service Organization, founded by Jake and fellow former Marine William McNulty, provides military veterans with purpose, community and self-worth through volunteer service by using their unique skills for disaster response, humanitarian crisis intervention, and community service.

Jake’s path of service is of particular interest to me. In continuing his mission, he found a way to keep advancing the work he loves, while creating a platform for thousands of veterans to do the same. As I reflect on his commitment to Continue the Mission, I see many lessons in his actions:

Complex Problems Require Teamwork: Team Rubicon’s success is a good reminder that when it comes to solving complex problems, such as responding to one of the worst-ever natural disasters in the western hemisphere, there’s tremendous value in creating space for new and different solutions, vs. relying on any one organization or idea to go it alone.

The Power of Purpose: Team Rubicon’s vision to build a veterans’ network of First Responders has delivered far more than aid to post-disaster recovery efforts. The network provides a renewed sense of purpose for veterans who miss the structure, mission and camaraderie of a military unit, and it gives them a new way to serve.

Never Underestimate Your Skill Set: Just as Team Rubicon volunteers have put their military training to work in new ways, we all have skills that can be used in new or different ways. Challenge yourself or your company’s hiring manager to look beyond what’s on the resume to how those direct skills may transfer to even greater reward in advancing your mission.

To learn more about Team Rubicon, or to support their work, visit teamrubiconusa.org.

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