AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Tyler Thompson and Debbie Stanley are both co-leaders of the Rainbow Patrol.
"Six months ago this started after a very serious assault on two gentlemen at the corner of 3rd and Congress. A very serious assault that left them hospitalized. Serious injuries and it protracted a legal battle that's ongoing," Thompson said.
They say an unfortunate situation brought them and 70-80 other volunteers together, but they're inspired it's caused so much change around them.
For example, the Rainbow Patrol says they're planning strategic outreach in the fall to university students. They want to have more volunteers on board, and say this will create a unique opportunity for students.
"It's also a good opportunity to work with straight allies as well. It's a group that's inclusive and cooperative," Stanley said.
Thompson said that while there are LGBTQ opportunities like internships in town, what sets Rainbow Patrol apart is a physical connection to the LGBTQ community.
"You're actually working with people in distress or lack thereof. During the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and early 1990s we lost an entire generation of LGBT leaders and activists so I think it's really important for our admissions statements to give LGBT students an opportunity," Thompson said.
They also want to grow operations with administration and marketing support, as well as leadership opportunities.
Through trial and error, the Rainbow Patrol says they've realized they can help the community more by setting up shop on 4th Street right next to Truluck's.
"Last week we had two people at the end of our shift who both needed EMS," Stanley said. "One of them asked for us to call for him the other was down the street. Something we've worked on with our volunteers is basic psychology and training. We have this fight or freeze response to trauma."
Recently, they've also been asked to be part of the Hate Crime Tasks Force in Travis County which is under the Anti-Defamation League.
They also have a local attorney who has volunteered to form their nonprofit which should be finalized by the end of this year.