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You Are Capable of Far More Than You Can Imagine

When I was 12 years old, my dad put me up on a tin roof in Kentucky with a hammer and a bucket of tar. We were repairing homes in what became a yearly trip to one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the country.

This would hardly be described as a dream summer vacation for a middle-school girl, but it set the stage for the rest of my life, for decades of disaster response, and for eventually, 20 years later, serving with Team Rubicon.

That summer I formed two viewpoints on life that have carried through the years and the miles:

  1. You are capable of far more than you can imagine.
  2. The best gift you can give yourself is to serve others.
Abbey deployed to Houston as a sawyer to assist residents affected by severe weather.
Abbey deployed to Houston as a sawyer to assist residents affected by severe weather.

Now, as one of the “OGs” in the organization (which, I’ve found, is loosely defined as being a member prior to the Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes of May 2013), it’s now my goal to find a way to pass these lessons on to as many Greyshirts as possible.

I see it in every chainsaw training class. And I see it in every operation.

There’s something about that first morning on your first op. And there’s nothing better than sitting back and watching a confused FNG try to find his strike team leader and get handed his first shirt and hat. And then, watching the same guy at lunchtime with a nickname written in Sharpie on that no-longer-crisp grey T-shirt. He’s now part of the team.

Also serving as a Sawyer 1 Instructor for TR, Abbey helps teach fellow Greyshirts how to safely operate a chainsaw in the field.
Also serving as a Sawyer 1 Instructor for TR, Abbey helps teach fellow Greyshirts how to safely operate a chainsaw in the field.

Every operation brings its lessons and its challenges. For me, Op Moonshot was no different. As I stepped into new and exciting roles with Team Rubicon, my flaws were exposed in spectacular fashion. I fell into my rhythm and style as a leader and found what works for others doesn’t always work for me.

As Houston pushed my physical and emotional limits, I learned two things:

ONE: I am capable of far more than I can imagine.

and

TWO: The best gift I can give myself is to serve others.