DCD strives to inspire students to become caring, ethical members of the larger world by emphasizing thoughtful citizenship and respect for self and others. This is exactly what Phil Holden, DCD’s Director of Facilities and Operations, exemplified this past October, when he joined Team Rubicon, a veteran-led humanitarian organization that serves vulnerable global communities before, during, and after disasters and crises.

Team Rubicon was started by a U.S. Marine Corps veteran after the devastating 2010 Earthquake in Haiti, and has since expanded to over 160,000 volunteers, to include Military, first responders, doctors and nurses, former educators, and ordinary citizens from all over the world. Their mission is to give help wherever it is needed most— what Team Rubicon refers to as “Heart Work”.

Phil learned about Team Rubicon back in 2012, and was eager to join, but with his first child on the way, he knew it wasn’t the right timing. This past summer proved to be the perfect time for Phil to take on this commitment, and after rounds of training, Phil was accepted into the organization, and was sent on his first deployment this past October.

Along with thirty other Rubicon members, Phil traveled to Northern Florida to help with the storm damage from hurricane Idalia, a storm that decimated the area this past August. The damage was so intense that, months later in October, the residents still needed immense help. Phil and his team first traveled to Tallahassee, and then to Mayo, where Team Rubicon’s operating base is housed at a FEMA camp.

During his time in Florida, Phil was sent out on strike teams daily. The first big effort was to assist with downed trees that were blocking roadways, leaning on houses, and disrupting livestock from getting to pasture. The second big task was to make much-needed temporary repairs to people’s houses.

“Daily, I traveled with a counselor who would talk to local families,” Phil explains, “to compile lists of what each family needed, from food to other basic living supplies. There was one family in particular who suffered a catastrophic loss just two days before the storm. While doing storm prep in the yard, the father of the family died suddenly, and with no means of securing the home after their devastating loss, the home suffered a major impact. Our team put in a call to FEMA to help make arrangements for a new, more permanent living situation for the family, which is in the process of happening now. During my deployment, I met so many wonderful people from all over the country, forming lifelong friendships.”

Phil’s hard work and generosity in helping others reflects the value DCD places on community-building, empathy and kindness. Thank you Phil, for your incredible heart work, and for serving as such a powerful model for our students!