20 Years, 20 Stories — Allen Robinson: From Stuntman to Rescuer

“TEXSAR: 20 Years, 20 Stories, is a series of people-centric stories that celebrate the history of TEXSAR’s heroics and humanity as its volunteers continue their mission of ‘Texans helping Texans’ with Service above Self. The sequence of stories and profiles come together in 2024, the nonprofit’s 20th anniversary year.”

TEXSAR: 20 Years, 20 Stories — Allen Robinson:  From Stuntman to Rescuer
Years Active: 2014-Present

When you understand stunt work and search-and-rescue (SAR) work, it makes sense that someone who excels in one could excel in another.

Allen Robinson, a TEXSAR volunteer since 2014, found work as a stuntman thanks to a newspaper ad in 1985. His sense of adventure and athletic skills found a home in the stunt field. He has appeared in more than 160 movies and television shows and has been the stunt double for many famous actors, including Tom Hanks (in Forrest Gump and six other films), Jim Carrey, Clint Eastwood and Anthony Perkins, to name a few.

He found TEXSAR when he and his wife moved from California to Texas in 2014 and he asked a sheriff at a coffee shop what opportunities there were for search-and-rescue work in the area. The answer was TEXSAR, in more ways than one.

Shortly after joining TEXSAR, Allen earned his certification in swiftwater rescue. Two weeks later he came to understand the reality of SAR compared to the unreality of movie and television sets. 

“During the Memorial Day Wimberley Flood event of 2015, I witnessed the devastation and dynamics. They were amazing. I was checking in at a fire station and everything was quiet – most everyone was out on assignments. Then, someone screamed that there was a person in the water just outside the station. That was my first rescue. I like chaotic times, though. As an adrenaline junkie, things slow down during times like that. It helps with my situational awareness and focus, whether it is SAR work or stunt roles.”

Although he is qualified in several types of SAR functions, his stunt experiences also affected his service during Hurricane Harvey. Thanks to roles he had played, he was familiar with operating a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV). The LMTV was critical in navigating high waters to rescue people, some of whom had been stranded in their homes for days, many of whom needed medical assistance.

There are many similarities and crossovers in stunt and SAR work, he said.

“The more you know, the more you work.” Learning more skills provides the opportunity for more work and the opportunity to serve in more ways.

“Your work is for the overall success of the team, not for individual glory.”  Service does not seek fame, but accomplishment of the mission.

“Focus on the task at hand, not the possible consequences.”  Some tasks involve risks that have the potential for severe, negative consequences. Focus on the task, not the negative potential.

“The role you play is not the whole story.”  You are often in a role that serves something much bigger than yourself and is part of something larger than your role.

“Some things you are simply called to.”  Allen learned the concept of service from his dad, who was a Green Beret during the Vietnam War, and other family members who were in the military. He felt the call to serve, in whatever way possible, early in life.

Perhaps the most poignant similarity that Allen finds between stunt and SAR work is more philosophical. “We are ultimately frail and vulnerable. Life is not assured. Give joy when you can.”

Learn more about Allen’s life in the stunt field by reviewing his profile that also includes TEXSAR https://www.allenrobinson.com/ and https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0732360/bio/.

Learn more about TEXSAR at www.TEXSAR.org.