Family Matters

Navy veteran Jerome Deniz finds home through Team Rubicon

I’m fairly certain I’ve become one of the luckiest people alive.

For years I wondered what path I was going down after leaving active duty, and after several years of bouncing from job to job, and finishing up my Bachelor’s degree, I am happy to say I think I’ve found a place I can call home. That home isn’t an actual place you can visit, but it’s more of a family I see every few months, who come from all walks of life, and show up to get shit done without muttering a complaint. That family is Team Rubicon.

I first learned of Team Rubicon while watching the news all those years ago and seeing a ragtag group of Veterans and First Responders kicking ass in Haiti. My thought at the time was “Hey, look at these guys, way to take initiative…” and that’s where my thoughts on the matter ceased.

Fast forward to fall 2013 when Typhoon Haiyan was barreling straight toward the Philippines with extreme prejudice. At this time, my lead at Palantir Technologies asked me if I could pass along any information on the storm to Team Rubicon so they can stay well-informed given the circumstances. It was under these conditions that I took a deeper look at what I thought was still a small group of people and discovered much has changed in nearly four years. I signed up to be a volunteer only a few short days before Veterans Day, and my life hasn’t been the same since.

Deniz deployed on Operation: Humble Trooper to serve as a Palantir subject matter expert in supporting those affected by the wild fires in Washington state.

Shortly thereafter, I went on my first operation with Team Rubicon and started discovering that bond I had since lost with my fellow Sailors when I was active duty; only this time I was creating new friendships with people who shared a common desire to help others in need.

I just returned home from Operation: Double Trouble with a renewed sense of purpose. My heart is full of joy and my soul feels refreshed after witnessing my fellow sleep-deprived volunteers give it their all day in and day out, without ever asking anything in return.

Every homeowner we encountered simply wanted to express thanks for Team Rubicon coming to their community to help out, and I’m not sure the victims of the flood know this, but allowing us to help them, helps us too.

Deniz was one of more than 175 volunteers deployed to Operation: Double Trouble in Texas and one of four who received a TR tattoo.

I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs since leaving the Navy in 2009, bouts of depression, thoughts of suicide, financial issues to name a few. If it wasn’t for the sense of purpose and camaraderie I feel when I’m working alongside my Team Rubicon brothers and sisters, I’m not sure how I would be getting by at this point. This organization has helped me and countless others, and I’m extremely proud to call everyone in Team Rubicon, family.