Age: 27 | Baltimore, Maryland
U.S. Navy, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2006-2007
When Eric Smith left the U.S Navy after serving in Iraq as a hospital corpsman, he returned to Baltimore alone, far from the Marines he patched up in combat. But something else was lacking; he was without a mission and searching for a community dedicated to service.
Eric chanced upon Team Rubicon
, a Veterans group that combines military skills and disaster relief, and was slated to deploy to Haiti after the devastating earthquake to train medics in first aid. A week before he left, a mission coordinator asked if he’d go to Sudan to take care of the sick in refugee camps. “Hey, sure,” he said. He was soon on a bird to eastern Africa. Veterans like Eric have found an unexpected benefit of using the skills they obtained while serving in the civilian world: a measure of selfless dedication and camaraderie they once had.
“There’s a sense of purpose and mission there,” Eric said. “Putting my skills to use in an environment where people needed help helped me realize I still have a lot more to give.”
Watch Eric's video