Veteran-Led Disaster Relief Non-Profit, Team Rubicon, Cleaning Up in Millcreek
Local residents continue the daunting task of cleaning up from Sunday's tornado and widespread flooding. And thanks to the veteran-led non-profit, Team Rubicon, volunteers have arrived in Millcreek Township to help some of the hardest-hit victims.
Local residents continue the daunting task of cleaning up from Sunday's tornado and widespread flooding.
And thanks to a veteran-led non-profit, volunteers have arrived in Millcreek Township to help some of the hardest-hit victims.
Millcreek Township emergency management leaders reached out to Team Rubicon, a national disaster relief non-profit.
The group responded, surveyed the damage, and determined there was a huge need for their help. And what better time to help than this Veterans Day weekend, continuing their tradition of service.
Volunteers with Team Rubicon are in Millcreek Township, where the veteran-led disaster relief organization has launched Operation Flagship City, helping residents clean up from Sunday's tornado.
On Friday, they canvassed neighborhoods, assessing damage to see where they're needed the most, "Following today, we'll start doing actual operations, whether that be cleaning up after flooding, muck and gut operations as we call them, or chainsaw operations to help them get all the trees out of the yard, debris management, and other things like," said Incident Commander David Dodds who is also Team Rubicon's Regional Field Operations Manager for the region.
Clean up costs from this storm will be extensive, but Team Rubicon's help comes at no cost storm victims.
20 volunteers from all over; Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Canada, are stepping in to help, "We have a great community," said Caleb Dixon, Millcreek Township's Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator. "When I was out, there were neighbors helping neighbors which is a wonderful thing to see, in a lot of neighborhoods you wont see that, but here in Millcreek you do. But to have these volunteers come in and take care of some of the larger issues that some homeowners couldn't, is great," Dixon continued.
The non-profit group goes beyond disaster relief, it's also helping veterans find a renewed sense of purpose, "We like to say that disaster is our business, but veterans are our passion," said Dodds. "We're very passionate about our veterans, especially the mental health aspect as well, coming into something like this gives back a pretty big purpose and mission that sometimes they lost in the military," Dodds continued.
Army Veteran Giovanny Hanson of Erie, joined Team Rubicon three years ago, to fill a void he felt after leaving the service.
He says it's an ideal way to continue his calling to serve, and what better way than in his own community, "It gave me the opportunity to continue the mission and helping is more fruitful when you help your community," said Hanson. "When you leave the military, you lose that camaraderie, most of your friends they're in different parts of the country, and when you come and meet some of these guys and gals, it just brings that back," Hanson said.
Team Rubicon was founded in 2010 following the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Most recently they responded to Texas, Puerto Rico, and Florida, to help with hurricane cleanup.
The group is set to be here until next Tuesday, but say they'll stay as longer if needed.
The West Ridge Fire Department has offered up their South Station for a place for the volunteers to stay, and Walmart has donated food and water to the volunteers.
Millcreek residents who need help with storm damage are urged to call 814-833-1303.
To learn more, or to help, visit TeamRubiconUSA.org