Volunteerism: A Way to GSD


Photo Credit: Mr. Carlos Sinde

New York City is only 800 miles away from Fort Knox, Kentucky,, but during this pandemic, it seems like another world. According to Maj. Michael Nguyen, every night in NYC is dead silent, a quiet broken only by helicopters and sirens. Soldiers are sometimes seen on the streets in the daylight. Maj. Nguyen explains how the military has assisted NYC with medical support and food distribution, and advises that the best thing people can do for the city is to stay home, and if they have to go out, always wear a mask.

Maj. Nguyen, who in his civilian capacity works as a recruiter for the ROTC program at Fordham University, a private university in NYC, stayed home for weeks. But, he explains, as unemployment went up, people still needed to eat, and he was able-bodied and looking for a way to help his community. Volunteering was his opportunity.

Mr. Glomani Bravo-Lopez Photo Credits: Mr. Glomani Bravo-Lopez

Until a few years ago Nguyen had often put off volunteerism. Busy with his civilian career and his position at St. John’s University as an Associate Professor of Military Science for 4-413th Regiment (SROTC), he had difficulty finding the time. Now, it was different.


Photo Credits: Photo Credits: Maj. Nguyen

Team Rubicon, a veteran-founded disaster response group, deployed Maj. Nguyen (in his civilian capacity) in early May on a 4-day operation to help deliver food to approximately 16,000 homes in need. Nguyen worked alongside city employees, Team Rubicon volunteers, and the New York Army National Guard. Led by a Marine veteran, Nguyen’s strike team helped load approximately 4,000 boxed meals each day into vehicles. At the end of Maj. Nguyen’s “deployment,” he was required to fill out a questionnaire and complete an AAR. He explains how in a time when most people may not know how to help, when the best thing a citizen can do is stay home, this was the best way for him to GSD (Get Stuff Done), an acronym that well describes this group that has in the past responded to earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes around the world. His team is volunteering again next week.


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