5×5 with Dave ‘Tomo’ Thomas; A Team Rubicon UK ‘Greyshirt’
Each month we’re asking people who are either involved with The Ripple Pond or who we’ve met on our travels, for an insight into what makes them tick, what inspired them and why. Last month we heard a talk by a veteran who found that neither ‘civvy’ life, nor the Reserves, gave him the inspiration and camaraderie that he found in the military.
He found and joined Team Rubicon UK. Originally set up by two US ex-Marines, Team Rubicon ‘unites skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams in the UK and around the world’. This is what he tells us:
1). How did you become involved with Team Rubicon UK?
I found out about Team Rubicon from my old OC, I signed up as member, did the induction course in February, and started volunteering at the HQ. I’ve just got back from my first Team Rubicon operation in Uganda where a team of us built, (and trained locals in building), fuel efficient kitchens in schools for South Sudanese refugee children.
2). How do your military skills transfer to the volunteering projects? There is a real mixture of skills that I have brought with me from the military such as timekeeping and team skills. It’s easy to communicate with each other and we understand each other’s backgrounds.
3). What activities do you do to relax after working on a project with Team Rubicon UK? In Uganda for me the most important thing was sleep, it’s really important after a long day of work, followed by briefings and planning to recharge your batteries. But it’s also important to socialise and reflect on the day and what you have achieved as well as sharing stories about the people you are there to help.
4). What is your next personal challenge? I’m helping out this weekend with Mission Specific Training for an upcoming operation in the Philippines. I learned a lot on my deployment and it will be a good opportunity to share that. But I also want to spread the word – I get a lot out of my volunteering and particularly my time in Uganda – I want to make sure other veterans hear about Team Rubicon and what they could get out of it.
5). Top tips for staying calm in a stressful environment? The essential thing in my mind is to keep calm and collected no matter what is going on around you.
Note: If you feel that Team Rubicon UK could be of interest to your partner, son or daughter who has been medically discharged or not, find our more via their website www.teamrubiconuk.org They apply a duty of care to their volunteers and provide, potentially, an essential connection for veteran’s military skills and experiences, post discharge.