Saturday Spotlight: Roderick Gabriel
Chapter: Team RWB Pacific / San Diego Chapter Captain
Member Since: 2014
Motto: “A bad day can change in to a great one, as fast as you can change your attitude.”
Why Did You Join Team RWB?
“I loved running and hiking, coming back to San Diego from a 4.5 year incarceration I was very isolated and felt very uncomfortable around people. Although I still didn’t feel all that more comfortable in a group of Veterans, I was comfortable enough to at least give it a shot. I thought the worse that was gonna happen was I would just totally ignore everyone and just run or hike. On my first hiking event, I was taken back by how easily it was to relate to my fellow Eagles. After a couple more events I connected with several Veterans from all branches and all ages who seem to have been going through some of the same struggles. That is when I realized I found my community.”
What has Been Your Favorite Event or Experience with Team RWB?
“Running with the RWB led Health and Wellness program at Veteran Village of San Diego (VVSD) has by far been my favorite experience. I was a homeless Veteran who sought help through VVSD, which was also where I got connected with RWB. RWB having made such a huge impact, I wanted to share with my fellow Veterans the experiences and opportunities that were afforded to me. Getting to know all the Veterans who reside their now, seeing the smiles, and the kind of energy the H&W program brings is amazing and inspiring at the same time.Since I have been assisting with the program, countless number of Veterans come up to shake my hand and tell me how much they have improved physically, I have paced a 53 year old Army Veteran for his first Half Marathon, and have seen so many lives improve all around from simply running with a good group of people.”
How Do You Serve Your Community?
“Aside from volunteering with the H&W program at VVSD, I also sit on a board for an event called Stand Down which is a 3 day event for homeless veterans where we provide a safe place to eat, sleep, and shower. In addition participants get connected with multiple organizations from AA programs to housing programs, plus all aspects of health can be addressed through the VA and volunteer healthcare providers. A whole year of planning goes into this to insure we provide as much as possible to the Veterans in need. I also serve as a peer mentor to combat Veterans who suffer from PTS, which actually helps me just as much as it helps them.“
What Inspires You?
“I am inspired by the world around me. I have learned to seek inspiration everyday to keep life exciting. Some days I am inspired by my clients who put their trust into me and step out of their comfort zone in attempt to achieve a goal. Other days I am inspired by public figures such as Collin Powell, who through much adversity became a distinguished political figure that assisted in many historical American events. My life has not been very easy for reasons that I caused and reasons totally out of my control. My biggest inspiration is my community, growing up I never saw how powerful a community could be when working together. Seeing my community not only work together to help me out of the darkness but so many others around me, generates a passion which drives me to want to be part of that community. To help others.”
How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?
“RWB has impacted my life in several different ways. Being part of the Veteran community was my first stepping stone into interacting with the whole community. My life today is pretty much thanks to the people I have met in team RWB; my roommates are Eagles, my employer is an Eagle, all my friends and network are tied to the Eagles in one shape or form. As part of the leadership team I have learned or honed leadership skills that help me in my everyday life. I love the fact that i can walk around San Diego without an Eagle on and always seem to be recognized as “Hey, you’re Rod, the RWB guy.”
What Would You Say to Someone Who is Thinking of Joining Team RWB?
“I would say that RWB is not just a running group, RWB is a community who happens to like running, and hiking, and working out, drinking coffee, kayaking, rock climbing, and a whole bunch of other fun stuff. There are no dues, fees or requirements to join, just sign up and and show up! “