Program Helps Put Veterans’ Skills to Civilian Use

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When military men and women leave the service they often talk about feeling lost. They no longer have a common mission or purpose. But a veteran oriented volunteer organization aims to change that.

The organization is called Team Rubicon. It's all about using the special skills military veterans have learned fighting in wars overseas and putting those skills to use helping in disaster areas. Skills like searching for missing or wounded people and organizing relief efforts are  important skills, whether it's a disaster or a war zone.

Team Rubicon's force of volunteers are already armed with these skills since they are all military veterans.

Ford Sypher, Team Rubicon's director in the new local Kansas City based region seven offices, called TR a quick reaction force. "So when the event happens we mobilize quickly," he says, "we're able to get skilled individuals down there and effect change."

Sypher is an army veteran, a seargant who joined TR after three deployments in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

"When I first got out I knew there was something I was missing," he says, "I wanted to continue to help, I wanted to serve and have purpose."

Sypher helped with disaster relief in Alabama and Joplin, he says it was a great experience "helping people put lives back together."

Sypher is also working with his friend Nate Stafford on a pilot program, bringing civilians into TR. Stafford feels strongly about that, escpeially after going with Sypher to Alabama.

"Seeing the destruction and working with these individuals who had high skill sets, were so efficient, worked 14 hour days asked for nothing in return," Stafford says. "That really, really deeply inspired me."

Now Stafford is heading up the civilian support squad, which he says will focus on local projects like Habitat for Humanity builds, as a way to bring civilians and veterans together.

"What I really want to do is show there is a community here waiting to embrace them and work along side them," Stafford says.

You can find out more about Team Rubicon or the Civilian Support Squad at a happy hour this weekend, Saturday night from 8pm until 10pm at Kennedy's bar and grill in Waldo. Click here for more information about the happy hour, or here for more information about Team Rubicon.

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