Team Rubicon Volunteer

I recently joined this organization that specializes in Disaster Relief work. Team Rubicon provides free assistance with disaster cleanup work. They do not rebuild anything but help people get their home ready for rebuilding.

20-27 November 2022 I was in Port Charlotte, FL helping to clean up after Hurricane Ian.  

This was a differnt Op for a few reasons.  First, we were staying in a FEMA camp and we had bunk beds in tractor trailers.  Additionally, there were showers in another trailer and a huge dining hall.  

The top picture is inside the trailer where we slept.  Bunks were 3 high and it slept 36 people.  It was also air conditioned which was nice.  

The second picture is me cutting down a snag.  

The third and fourth pictures show a tree before we touched it and after we cut out most of the dead branches.  

The fifth picture is inside the dining tent.  You could probably feed 300 people in here.  

And the bottom picture shows the trailers we were sleeping in.  

1 - 9 August 2022 I was in knott County, KY as part of the Roadway Debris Removal team.  

This was in response to the uprecedented flooding that occured in the area.  The flooding was absolutely massive.  

The first photo is very interesting.  We talked to a homeowner that lived right there and said it was amazing that the road dropped that much.  However, she said that the road did NOT drop, rather, two feet of sand was deposited on top of the road.  

To give you and idea of the flooding scale, the river is behind the mobile home in the back of the picture and probably down 8-12 feet below it!  

The second photo shows the inside of the Knotts County recreation center which had been turned into a central supply distribution center for local residents.  Most people don't realize the scale of these disasters and how many supplies are needed.  Local people are free to come and take what they need.  Clothing, food, water, diapers, medical supplies, etc. are all available.  

17 - 26 June and 3 - 10 July 2022 I was in Granby, Colorado for operation Rage Against the Ravine. 

This was not a normal disaster response. Instead, this was a fire mitigation effort in various neighborhoods to help reduce the risk of wildfires.

While I was in Colorado, I also attempted and climbed five 14,000' mountains.

The first photo gives you an idea of the steep terrain we had in the ravines.  

The second photos is me on top of Quandry Peak which is my first Colorado 14K peak!

19 May 2022 I traveled to CT for a service project where we helped make a scouting camp safer by cutting down unsafe trees.  

This was a fun project that was part a training exercise and defintely helped eliminate unsafe trees in Camp Sequassen which is a scouting camp. 

The first photo is our group finishing for the day and going back to the cabin.  

The second photo shows a very classic "fence posting" which can occur when you try to drop a tree and it is hung up at the top.  

19- 26 Jan 2022 I traveled to Mafield, KY to help with relief efforts due to some tornados.

I spent a week in the Mayfield, KY area doing Sawyer work and helping the locals recover from a serious tornado the ran amok in the area.  The photo will give you a small idea on how devastating it was.  

15 - 22 Dec 2021 I traveled to Bowling Green, KY to help with relief efforts due to some tornados.  

I spent a week in Bowling Green, KY doing Sawyer work and helping the locals recover from a serious tornado the ran amok in the area.  As you can see from the photo, we stayed in a college dorm room which was a pretty luxurious setup compared to other operations I have been on!

03 - 11 Sept 2021 I traveled to Hammond, LA to help with hurricane Ida relief efforts.  

On Friday the 3rd, I flew to Dallas, TX and a team of about 7-8 of us drove 4 pickups and a van to Hammond, LA.  It took about 9+ hours with the stops we made and we arrived around 9:30pm.  

I worked Site Surveys the next two days, then worked with a chainsaw crew for a couple days.  On Wednesday, I drove 4 of us to Monroe, LA airport to pick up 3 cars.  

Thur and Friday I worked with a chainsaw crew again before flying home Saturday.  

The picture you see is me getting a chainsaw stuck in a very large tree that we worked on for quite a while.  

15-24 April 2021 I traveled to Pueblo, Colorado.  TR assisted FEMA and worked a number of COVID vaccination sites. 

 These were mostly "second shot" sites and we were at a different site every day.  

These were mostly in Churches and Schools.   The whole team (FEMA, TR and other organizations) were great to work with!  

On our one day off, a few of us drove out and saw Bishops Castle.  I met Mr. Bishop who built this whole place over 30+ years mostly by himself and with one or two of his sons.  

The place is really interesting and a bit crazy.  There were almost no standards for protection and a number of places to hurt yourself if you weren't careful.  But, worth a visit!  

5-12 September 2020 I traveled to North Haven, CT to respond to some Tornado damage.

For this operation I was part of a chainsaw crew. 

The picture to the right was taken by the guy who's house we were working on.  He was a professional photographer and wanted something to put into the local newsletter.  

Pictures below shows Joe, Papi and myself in the left photo.  Charles and I in the center.  And one of the yards we worked in with a before and after photo.  

22-23 June 2019 I traveled to Portersville, PA to take Sawyer 1 (chainsaw) training.

In order to be on a Team Rubicon chainsaw crew you must take their training. Mission accomplished. I drove out from NH and on the way spent two nights in Gettysburg and saw the museum and battlefields. I also say Eisenhower’s Farm and the Spangler Farm which was a field hospital that treated around 1,900 soldiers during and after the battle of Gettysburg. If you haven’t gone, it is pretty interesting. Lastly, on the way home I stopped and saw Niagara Falls for an afternoon. Again, pretty amazing. If you get a chance, see the “Cave of Winds”. Awesome.

Pictures of Niagara Falls

Gettysburg, PA

4-11 May 2019 I traveled to Omaha, Nebraska in support of Operation Heartlander.

In March 2019, a “bomb cyclone” hit much of the middle of the country and delivered heavy rains, wind and snow from Texas to Minnesota. Combined with existing snow on the ground and frozen earth, the water had nowhere to go. Consequently, water lifted ice sheets which clogged the rivers and overflowed levees. The Missouri River, Platte River, Mississippi and a host of smaller rivers and streams all had major and historic flooding.
The picture shown is from Pacific Junction, Iowa. Team Rubicon has been in the area working this town and some other locations since the flooding started. Our team spent the whole week in this town helping the residents recover. The water had receded from the town by the time we were there, but the surrounding farmland was mostly under water still.

Pacific Junction has a population of around 500 people.
This was a home we worked on for a few days. Another team cleaned out the house of all the furniture, appliances, etc. Our team went in and took up all the flooring and nails. In the end, the houses are down to clean studs and flooring and reading for rebuilding.
This is another home we worked on for a couple days. The first day we took out all the furniture, clothing, boxes, appliances, some of the carpeting and personal items. Even though the flooding occurred weeks ago, everything was completely soaked with water and mud. The second day we started removing the sheetrock and insulation. Since it was our last day, we left the rest for another team to finish.

The town of Pacific Junction, IA is just one of many towns in the area to be devastated by this flooding.
First picture is the house we worked on with the owner at the far left. From left, TR members are myself, Connor, Joe, Amy and Steve. Next two pictures are us getting ready to work another house and then a shot after. You can’t really appreciate how dirty we were.
On Friday night we were invited by the Omaha Storm Chasers who are the local AAA baseball team for Kansas City. It was a great night and around the 3rd inning Team Rubicon was given a check for $50,000 by Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball and the Major League Players Association.

In December 2108 and February 2019, I traveled to Panama City, FL to help clean up after a hurricane.

My first major operation was cleaning up homes in Panama City, Fl and Mexico Beach, FL and the surrounding areas for a week. Most days I mucked out homes by removing sheet rock and insulation with black mold, tore down ceilings, removed appliances and flooring as needed, and cleaned up a lot of debris from the outside. Hard work and very sad for the locals who live there as it will take a long time to get back to normal.
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