« Back to News

#Eleven11 – Fi on joining TR as a placement volunteer

This Remembrance Day we are running a campaign called Eleven11 and encouraging people to join our critical Team Rubicon Support Squad. Through a monthly donation of £11 or more, you can make a massive impact at Team Rubicon.  The beauty of Team Rubicon is our dual mission, where your money makes double the difference – by positively impacting both the communities affected by disasters who we assist, and the veterans who serve them.  During November we are bringing you a series of 11 blogs which will show the difference Team Rubicon makes and, hopefully, inspire you to join our Support Squad.

Meet Fi who is a placement volunteer at Team Rubicon.

Having been raised in Belize and lived in Europe, travel has been top of Fi’s agenda throughout her life.  Her parents finally settled in St Lucia. She fulfils her role of doting daughter and begrudgingly ensures she visits them regularly where she sacrifices the comfort and good weather of home in the UK to fit in sailing, swimming and jungle adventures to her visits. Her RAF career was cut short due to a spinal chord injury but while serving she enjoyed a behind the scenes media role, several large projects and her dream job at Brize Norton Operations managing a vast array of international and home operations.

Fi with training partner Willow
Fi with training partner Willow

Her popularity whilst serving was largely down to her mad baking skills (due to a short stint as a private chef). She now lives in Hampshire with her husband and their chocolate (colour, not flavoured) Springador, Willow who is a brilliant open water swimming training partner and slightly less brilliant gun dog.

Through the eyes of a Placement Volunteer

“Team Rubicon is for life, not just for Christmas…..”

When the advert for an Operations Placement Volunteer at Team Rubicon popped up on my Twitter feed I felt like all my Christmases had come at once.  Disaster relief charity. Check. Military veterans. Check. Injured veteran friendly. Check. Awesome team. Check.

A quick update of my CV and few informal interviews later I arrived for my familiarisation visit on the Tuesday 11th October just as the first full wave of Greyshirts were due to deploy to Operation Trogon, flying to Haiti in response to Hurricane Matthew.  A few days later I travelled up to Edinburgh to get my first training weekend under my belt and became a fully-fledged Greyshirt.

On return to Chilmark HQ, Operation Trogon was well under way. Having spent my career in the RAF working in Flight Operations, I was well suited to the Operations environment. After an impressive response from our members we began welcoming new volunteers through the doors. These volunteers all brought with them amazing experience in IT and comms. With these volunteers coming in to help, it didn’t take long to get the 24 hour Ops room supporting the team on the ground in Haiti ready for action.

Fi and volunteers with Ops Manager Charlie and Tech Manager Chris, working on TR's Haiti response.
Fi and volunteers with Ops Manager Charlie and Tech Manager Chris, working on TR’s Haiti response.

Operations Manager Charlie and our Tech and Innovation man Chris made sure myself and all of the volunteers were all up to speed with the impressive ways in which we keep up to date with where our fellow Greyshirts are in Haiti and what challenges they are facing.  As part of my role as a volunteer in the Ops room I and my fellow volunteers covered many tasks including making sure flights are sorted for those deploying, appropriate equipment is ready to go, vaccinations are in good supply and loved ones are kept up to speed while Greyshirts are doing amazing work on the ground but out of communication.

Of course it’s not all about operations. Being a Placement Volunteer has meant I’ve seen the nuts and bolts of Team Rubicon UK. Training, such as the weekend I attended in Edinburgh, forms an essential part of making sure TR has volunteers with the best training and preparation out there.

One of the unique things I’ve contributed to is collecting and using feedback, generated from Edinburgh and past training weekends. This feedback shapes future weekends – we’re constantly upping our game.  You’d think this would be quite dry but the relentless banter of the office makes even these admin tasks almost enjoyable.

In mid-November some of the team will be returning to Edinburgh for the second time in as many months. I’ve been coordinating a team of Greyshirts to represent TR at The World Extreme Medicine Expo. While we’re in that neck of the woods we’ll be holding our first (of many!) Region 1 socials. We suspect that the beer flag will be raised and a beer or two will be shared among Greyshirts!

There’s something special about being a part of TR. The clue is in the name. The Team is what makes it one of the greatest places to work whether that’s as a Placement Volunteer, a full timer or a mighty Greyshirt.

Eleven11 banner

Find out more about Eleven11 and how you can join our Support Squad.

Leave a Reply