KAIMUKI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It is a long way from the streets of Kaimuki to the country of Nepal, but tonight, Michael Davidson is at home resting, after returning from a two week deployment to help the earthquake ravaged nation.
The 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck on April 24. Less than 48 hours later, Davidson was wheels up from Honolulu. The 23-year retired Navy veteran was part of a 40-person first response unit into the country. When there, he coordinated logistical operations for the team.
"Not only housing them, feeding them, providing them the materials they need, but also supporting supply chain management," he said.
What he saw in Katmandu wasn't pretty.
"You take away people shooting at us, it's just like being in a war zone, except we don't have to worry about being shot at or roadside bombs."
Davidson's team gave medical assistance, supplied water and food, and repaired infrastructure. The experience may sound militaristic--and that's entirely intentional. The organization Davidson is a part of, Team Rubicon, is structured to specifically repurpose the military skills of veterans in first response disaster relief situations.
"We're very swift and nimble. We're able to get to locations other people won't go. We go to where the road ends then hike two days in."
While these communities benefit from the volunteers, veterans like Michael say they do too.
"The fact remains that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. I went through a very dark depression when I got out."
Team Rubicon helped him find new purpose, and new missions in life, like helping to rebuild in Nepal.
"That fills the soul. We are making a difference there."
Team Rubicon was formed in 2010, and now has some 27,000 volunteers. While tailored to veterans, it is not exclusive to them. For more information, click HERE.