On September 11, 2001, new to the Navy and just graduated from Corpsman school, Petty Officer 2nd Class Juan Rubio arrived at the Pentagon to support search and rescue efforts. After two years of supporting healing efforts of service members and veterans at Walter Reed National Medical Center, he volunteered to serve Marines at Camp Lejeune. Upon the completion of Field Medical Service School, Rubio later deployed twice to Iraq for a total of 20 months.
In 2005, his unit was ambushed along the Euphrates River. While under fire, Rubio, not thinking twice, exposed himself to enemy fire to triage 3 Marines who had been wounded and move them to the shoreline for medical evacuation, a heroic action that earned him the Silver Star and 2 Purple Hearts.
While in treatment for his injuries, he discovered his love of building fishing rods while taking a class as a form a therapy to assist in rebuilding his eye-hand coordination and memory skills. After medically retiring in 2008, Juan sought out HOPE to turn this newfound passion into something more.
He and his wife, Jennifer, took a certification course to build custom rods and hope to donate the rods to local veterans that they take out fishing. We were able to grant their wish for a workshop and tools to build fishing rods and restored HOPE for their family. Today, he combines this passion with his dedication to our country’s service members, helping them discover the impact fishing has on the mind, body, and soul with his custom fishing rods.