Saturday Spotlight: Thomas Beers
Chapter: Team RWB Midwest Cleveland/Akron
Member Since: 2013
Motto: “It’s not what you gather, it’s what you scatter”
Why Did You Join Team RWB?
“Initially I got in for myself. I wanted to get back into running and the idea that I could raise awareness for veterans issues motivated me to get in shape and move. But as time progressed, rapidly, I lost the idea of doing any of it for me and wanted to get more involved and be of greater service by expanding into a leadership role within my chapter and do “it” for others. I also served for a short time in the US Army as a Field Artillery Officer and it reminded me that I made an obligation to serve soldiers as an officer. I left active duty service in 1999 and changed uniforms into civil service. When 9/11 occurred, I was already in a different uniform and had other service obligations to my community. I struggled daily with feelings of shame or regret for not being able to be with so many of my friends who were sacrificing so much more than me oversees. Team RWB has allowed me to let go of those negative feelings, by proxy, through servant leadership to veterans. I feel that I am able to quiet those demons by fulfilling an obligation to lead soldiers in a way I never would have imagined. I’ve never actually discussed that publicly until now and as I am writing this I am proud of where I am today and could not say any of that without Team RWB.”
What has Been Your Favorite Event or Experience with Team RWB?
“Easy…Old Glory Relay! Our chapter has participated every year. The first two years we traveled as a team by van for 5 hours to reach our start point and we stepped foot in three states in the inaugural event. What struck us all however was the expanse of Appalachia and the people who inhabit it. We did the same in the second year, and this year we did a connected event through downtown Cleveland.”
How Do You Serve Your Community?
“I work with a great team in our chapter as the chapter Captain. I enjoy facilitating the programs and events our leadership team and members put together. In my personal career, I work as a firefighter and paramedic and enjoy the idea of living a life of service to others. The idea that you can change a life or even save a life and make the world a better place each day when wearing the uniform is something that emotionally drives me. I feel a parallel with that when I put on my Team RWB “uniform” and can be an ambassador to the organization and make a difference each time I do.“
What Inspires You?
“Anyone who has faced insurmountable odds or situations and overcome them through relentless fighting. The idea that anyone can do the same with the right mindset is powerful to me personally. With that said, many of our own team mates in RWB inspire me for that very reason.”
How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?
“I was going through some personal issues and I had two choices, I could dive into bad habits like drinking and be selfish like that and feel sorry for myself or I could turn those energies and make them into positives by applying myself even more into Team RWB. Around that time, it was suggested that I take the steering wheel for the chapter leadership as the Chapter Captain and that afforded the opportunity to serve others even more and forget about my own struggles. Which in a way, is part of the winning formula of this enterprise! Service to others is a life worth living to the fullest and you get so much out of it emotionally that it can save you. I feel that in this regard, Team RWB saved me.”
What Would You Say to Someone Who is Thinking of Joining Team RWB?
“What do you have to lose?! It’s free to join and it only takes one event, one, to get started. There is no obligation but once you are in, you will get hooked. It’s just taking that first step and actually signing up!”