Northampton Community College (NCC) student and veteran, Christopher (Topher) Daniel, says service doesn’t stop once you leave the armed forces. A retired Marine, his work in community service landed him among other honorable veterans and active-duty military members featured on the Austin Dillion car during a NASCAR race held this July. 

NASCAR wanted to recognize service members and veterans for their dedication and sacrifice during their Independence Day celebration race. The No. 3 Dow Salutes Veterans Chevrolet was driven by Austin Dillon at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on July 9, and Daniel’s work with Team Rubicon, a veteran-led, non-profit humanitarian disaster relief organization, is what gave way to his being honored. “NASCAR donates to Team Rubicon’s organization, which helps us help others,” said Daniel. Approximately 2,000 names were displayed on the vehicle.

Image Credit: Miranda Faye Photography | Daniel’s name printed on the Dow car

In 1999, after receiving a scholarship, Daniel started his bachelor’s degree in political science at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. Unsure of what he wanted to pursue, he left for bootcamp that summer. He enlisted as a Marine and served for eight years, with two combat tours in Afghanistan and one in Djibouti. “The first tour was after 9/11. I got a phone call the day after the attacks, and I had just gotten done with training. I worked with the Marines, National Guard, and Coast Guard to help rescue and get people out of the city and serve injured people at makeshift hospitals,” he recalled.   

Daniel wanted to go further in his service to the country, and he set out to be an officer. One of the requirements of the position was that he needed to finish his bachelor’s degree. He completed his political science degree at Allegheny in 2008, but before he could reach the next stage in his miliary career, there was a reduction of forces. That, coupled with injuries sustained overseas, ended his time with the Marines.  

Daniel’s passion for service stayed with him. He traded service for his country, for service in the community with Team Rubicon. “Team Rubicon allows you to work with all walks of life. We don’t charge for any efforts, and we’re run by donation,” he said of the organization.


Team Rubicon became a huge part of Daniel’s life in 2016 when he first joined. He has completed service projects and disaster relief initiatives in places everywhere from Nebraska to Puerto Rico with his other fellow members, now 145,000 strong. In 2017, he became the city administrative lead, the point of contact responsible for overseeing the efforts of Team Rubicon in 13 counties in Pennsylvania. 

With Team Rubicon, Daniel has been able to do many service projects in the Lehigh Valley. He has assisted with food donation at New Bethany Ministries in Bethlehem, and he has been a big part of helping individuals in the Lehigh Valley. “One of the residents of Bethlehem, who was also a veteran, was alone after his wife passed away. His basement flooded, and we came in to work on the damage and repair the home through Operation Christmas City Clean-Up.” 

A self-proclaimed lifelong learner, Daniel never stopped pursuing education. After earning his bachelor’s, he attended Harvard and earned his master’s degree in strategic management, which he later used to manage investment properties in the Lehigh Valley. Now, he studies culinary arts at NCC to master his love of cooking and is in the process of earning a specialized diploma. He has since started a scholarship in his mother’s name for culinary students, the Cecilia Cardenas-Chillar Scholarship Fund. 

“The professors at NCC have a great passion for their field. They’re selfless, and they truly want you to succeed and will do anything to help foster that.” 

When asked what his next step is, Daniel said, “I’d like to establish a club within the community college under the same umbrella as Team Rubicon. NCC has allowed us to use their facilities for Team Rubicon training classes and introductory courses to help people see who we are and what we do.” Students can also watch the 13-part docuseries on Roku to learn more about Team Rubicon’s efforts. 

On September 23, a community enrichment event will be held on NCC’s Bethlehem campus. The event will be full of personal enrichment activities, resources and more, and Daniel, along with Team Rubicon, will be there to discuss resources students and others can use to help the community and beyond.  

To find more information about NCC’s resources for military-affiliated students, visit For any questions about joining Team Rubicon, contact Topher Daniel at