Thursday, April 09, 2015

Team RWB and the eagle have landed in Dover

by Airman 1st Class William Johnson
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

4/7/2015 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Red, white and blue, and the bald eagle are symbols for many things in America; however it is also the foundation for one veteran support network.

Team Red, White and Blue is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to "enrich the lives of America's veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity," and members of Team Dover are organizing the first Team RWB chapter in the state of Delaware.

Chief Master Sgt. Gerald Barnett, 9th Airlift Squadron superintendent, is the team captain for Dover's Team RWB and said he is excited to bring the organization to Delaware.

"My goal here is to partner up with the local community and local business to build upon the relationship with the veterans, active-duty, Guard and Reserves," he said.

Dover's Team RWB currently has 53 members and participates in a wide variety of physical activities including running, cycling and CrossFit workouts. RWB members are easily recognizable because they wear their Team RWB shirts at these events a process known as "wearing the eagle."

From civilians and veterans to active duty, Guard and Reserve, anyone is eligible to join Team RWB. Members of the group then plan and organize what they call RWB events.

"You don't have to be a cyclist, you don't have to be an endurance runner or a triathlon athlete, you don't have to be any of these people to be a member of RWB," said Barnett. "If two people want to throw darts and build that community as veterans, than that to us is an RWB event."

Dave Sawicki, 436th Operations Support Squadron flight record clerk, is a former Army paratrooper and is Team RWB's veterans outreach director. His mission is to make veterans aware of Team RWB and provide them with knowledge of the organization and how to join.

"If you ask veterans what they miss most about the military, a lot of times what you are going to hear is they miss that comradery and being part of something bigger than themselves," said Sawicki. "At team RWB, we recreate that environment for them and it provides that sense of community, comradery and that team environment that they lost once they got out."

A key piece to building that team environment to support veterans comes largely from the support of the local community. Team RWB is already seeing support from businesses in the local area.

Mike Georgules, owner of CrossFit Sweat Angel in Camden, Delaware, was born on Dover AFB, and supports Team RWB in its mission to bring the community and veterans together. Members of Team RWB meet at his gym on Thursdays and wear the eagle while participating in high intensity workouts.

"As a business owner, there is no better country in the world to start your own business and grow on your own and create your own luck," said Georgules. "The only reason I have that opportunity is because of our veterans, past and present."

Every aspect of Team RWB focuses on building a community with veterans. The unique relationship shared between veterans and military members is a driving force for many military members to join.

"I joined because I wanted to be part of this great community," said Airman 1st Class Karla Montes, 436th Dental Squadron dental assistant. "Whether if it's the Air Force, CrossFit or RWB community, I feel involved and I feel that we are making a difference in the lives of our veterans."

Barnett encourages anyone who is looking to join the organization to participate in any of events planned by Team RWB.

"It's amazing to see the transformation as you become part of something bigger than yourself," said Barnett. "It's an opportunity to meet and try new and different things."

Events and information on how to join Team RWB can be found on their Facebook page by searching Team RWB Dover.

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