Long before Dominic Suarez found his academic match in Regis University and its Jesuit values, he spent four years serving in the military, and eight years living overseas. Now, his life continues to encompass this value through community service with the U.S.-based international disaster relief nonprofit Team Rubicon.
The U.S. Army veteran and junior computer information systems student became involved with Team Rubicon after a volunteer came to campus and reached out to the Regis Veterans Resource Center and its members for help. Suarez knew immediately this was right for him.
“Mike Lloyd [with Team Rubicon] came on a Wednesday and I began training on that Friday,” he said.
Suarez has participated in cleanup efforts at a flooding site in Nicholas County, West Virginia, forest fire recovery in Nederland, Colorado and hurricane recovery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After Suarez’s time in the military came to an end, he would often times find himself feeling a “deployment itch.” While he hopes to travel internationally in the future, his work has fulfilled his desire to travel and see new places domestically.
It’s not a glamorous job, but Suarez considers the payoff huge for him and his fellow veteran volunteers.
“This work is helping others, but helping ourselves recover from wounds from the military — physical and emotional,” he said. “I have a renewed sense of purpose and community.”
Suarez also expresses his appreciation for work done with others on an equal ground for a shared cause. He’s worked beside CFOs, doctors and colonels in the military.
“We are all people, all on the same level unlike in the military with various rankings,” he said.
Suarez hopes that others, too, can volunteer and see the impact on victims of natural disasters and gratitude felt by them in the cleanup efforts. He’s serving in a different way now but the feeling of fulfillment remains.
“I’d encourage anyone — not just military members — who has a calling to do service for others to get involved,” he said.
Explore more opportunities like Team Rubicon available to our students who are veterans, active duty or in the Reserve via our Veteran Resource Center.