When Master Gunnery Sgt. John Escalante returned home from his third deployment in 2005, transitioning back to civilian life wasn’t easy.
“When I came back home, I missed that camaraderie, I missed that regimented lifestyle we have in the Marine Corps,” John told LittleThings.
For years, John hopped around from one veteran organization to the next, hoping to find the right community of like-minded individuals to make him feel at home again. Though every organization he joined had the same goal of aiding and bringing together veterans, each had “their own style and approach” — and they weren’t the right fit for John.
In 2012, after trying three or four different groups, John stumbled onto Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB). As someone who loves being active and physically engaged, the former Marine was immediately intrigued by Team RWB’s mission to unite veterans through physical activity.
“My first event, I remember clearly, was a four-mile run in Central Park,” John said. “I went there early and the first thing I noticed was a bunch of [Team RWB members] dancing around like a bunch of squirrels. It’s a lot of positivity radiating from the members. It’s incredible.”