Liz F.B., USAA senior injury adjuster, volunteers with Team Rubicon. Some of her experiences include rebuilding homes after hurricanes.
Building homes, working in warehouses and sleeping on cots or church pews – this isn't your typical local, daylong volunteer event. These are some of the things employees do who volunteer with Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that utilizes the skills and experiences of military veterans along with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.
David C., USAA supplier governance advisor, and Liz F.B., USAA senior injury adjuster, frequently volunteer with Team Rubicon.
Some of their experiences include rebuilding homes after hurricanes, warehouse work, helping communities after floods, forest fires – you name it.
One of David's most recent events was a two-week evacuee response for people fleeing Afghanistan. As an Air Force veteran who had been deployed to Afghanistan, this effort felt personal to him.
“I spent a lot of time in Afghanistan, so the evacuee response effort resonated with me this year," says David. “Some parts of it were very emotional but the work we did was very important. Most of us are veterans, then there are first responders, and the rest are amazing civilians, like Liz."
Employees selflessly use their paid-time off benefits to serve others when they are assigned to these weeks-long volunteer efforts. David says USAA is supportive when it comes to volunteering, especially when it involves helping our members.
“I think a lot of people think that, when we are doing disaster response, we are part of the CAT team, but we're not," says David. “We're sleeping on a cot in a warehouse, but our compensation is proudly wearing the gray Team Rubicon shirt."
Liz says there are tons of tasks that Team Rubicon assigns its volunteers, and they accommodate the unique skillsets and backgrounds to find the most effective placement.
“You learn your specific task when you get there, but you know what the purpose of the mission is," says Liz. “They find out where your skills are and the best way to put you to use. Every day is brand new and different."
Liz comes from a military family, so USAA's mission resonates with her.
“I think it fits really well with what I do – I'm all about insurance, disasters, helping people take care of themselves afterwards," explains Liz. “After Hurricane Ida, I spent two weeks taking phone calls from our members, helping them with their situation, and turned around and got on a plane and went to Louisiana to volunteer. It fit perfectly for me."
David says volunteering with Team Rubicon as USAA employees allows us to fill a gap and serve a different demographic than our members.
“The people we are serving often are underinsured or uninsured, and this is the worst day they can imagine. There is no one to help them because they don't have any money," says David.
David and Liz are already looking to apply for upcoming volunteer missions. Liz says once you start, it's hard to stop.
“When you see a disaster on TV and you see the people in the background – I always said I wanted to do that, but I never knew how," says Liz. “It's a beautiful thing – if service is where your heart is, it won't let you go."