Darrin Coldiron: president
Darrin was born and raised in Missoula, Montana. His grandfather, a USMC Colonel, was instrumental in developing Darrin’s character. The Colonel taught the grandchildren important life lessons as they helped him work his land, and as he led them on horse pack trips into the wilderness. The Colonel taught them how to care for animals and humans, to be prepared, to keep a good camp and to leave every place better than how you found it.
Darrin attended the University of Montana, studying sociology with an emphasis in counterculture groups and religions. He joined the University rugby team, a sport that taught Darrin about teamwork and leadership. Rugby turned the timid boy into a confident man who knew he was capable of leading and effecting positive change.
After spending his twenties learning about people and life, Darrin decided to become a professional firefighter. He wanted a career where he could use his mental and physical strengths to help people and to help build community. Darrin worked as a brewer and handyman at Big Sky Brewing while he went through the testing process for various fire departments. In early 2000, Darrin was hired by Spokane Valley Fire Department and moved to Spokane
Darrin and his brothers in the Missoula rugby community mounted a response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to show brotherhood with our Sri Lankan rugby mates. Arriving in Sri Lanka within 10 days of the devastating disaster, Darrin and his friends set up quarters in Komari, a small Tamil village on Sri Lanka’s East Coast that had lost 90% of its infrastructure to the waves.
Darrin and his team started work in Komari immediately upon arrival. They built classrooms, cleaned wells, built homes and businesses, planted gardens, and conducted well baby and well mother clinics. They realized that to really make a difference, they would need to make a long-term commitment. Big Sky Brewing Company, The Missoula medical community, and elementary schools from through out the Pacific Northwest formed the support system.
While they rebuilt the village, Darrin and friends formed a non-profit - Community Focused Disaster Response. From 2005 – late 2008, a small team of foreign volunteers and a large paid local workforce completed over 75 projects in Komari. Darrin took an unpaid sabbatical from the Fire Department to lead the work
Darrin returned to USA in 2007 from a village and country that had reentered the civil war that had been waging in Sri Lanka since 1983. Darrin was asked to “do something for US combat veterans”. Research and conversations with Vets and Vet service workers led to CFDR organizing Combat Veteran Retreats. As time went on, this became the focus of the non-profit, and the name was changed to Veterans Community Response.
Darrin remains passionate about working with Combat Veterans and building strong community. He believes that it is the duty of the citizenry to bring our warriors home from war and give them every opportunity to find satisfying and productive civilian lives. To this end, VCR continually trains a growing cadre of community responders. Our goal is to have a tight knit, highly functioning disaster response team of Vets who will be able to respond to a wide variety of needs as they arise.