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Friday, October 26, 2018

Here's How One Charity Harnesses the Power of Veterans for Disaster Recovery

Volunteers help with tree removal in New Bern, NC, after Hurricane Florence.
This guest post was written by our friends at Team Rubicon, a 4-star charity that harnesses the power of veterans to help communities affected by natural disasters rebuild and recover.

Veteran volunteers serving with Team Rubicon are actively responding to Hurricane Florence and Michael- affected communities. Team Rubicon is a disaster response organization that unites the skills and experience of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Team Rubicon recruits, trains, and engages volunteers year-round, preparing them to serve affected communities whenever disaster strikes. 

Team Rubicon's contribution to the field is unique. Their 90,000 member volunteer base is comprised of approximately 70% military veterans and 30% "kick ass" civilians. Utilizing the unique skills and experiences of military veterans increases the efficacy of their disaster response and provides veterans the opportunity to rediscover their sense of purpose, identity, and community. While deployed on Team Rubicon's disaster relief operations, veterans continue their service, now alongside civilian volunteers, to serve local communities impacted by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. 

Since Team Rubicon's founding in 2010, they've created tremendous impact for disaster-affected communities most in need. In total, Team Rubicon leaders and volunteers have conducted over 300 disaster relief, recovery, and mitigation operations. Following large-scale responses to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria last year, Team Rubicon grew in volunteers, operational tempo, and capabilities. Throughout 2017, Team Rubicon deployed 4,267 volunteers who donated an estimated volunteer labor value of over $6.4 million to communities impacted by a disaster. 

Creating Impact in the Carolinas and Florida

As Hurricane Florence and Michael headlines dissipate, Team Rubicon is just getting started. 

In Florida, Team Rubicon has assessed and solidified areas of operation for communities impacted by Hurricane Michael. Team Rubicon's chainsaw strike teams are safely removing hazardous debris, clearing roadways for emergency vehicles, aid workers, and residents. In true Team Rubicon fashion, these teams have destroyed 40+ "major obstructions" and they don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Currently, over forty volunteers are on the ground serving Hurricane Michael- affected areas, and many more volunteers have raised their hands to deploy.

Since September, Team Rubicon volunteers have already made a significant impact for communities affected by Hurricane Florence. Team Rubicon has deployed over 745 volunteers; logging 31,000 hours, serving 320+ residents, and delivering over $900,000 in community impact and cost savings. Volunteers are cleaning out flooded homes, removing debris, providing expedient home repairs, and conducting chainsaw operations to remove fallen trees. 

Team Rubicon is committed to providing rapid and efficient relief to residents devastated by Hurricane Florence. Team Rubicon volunteers assisted a retired couple in Havelock, North Carolina, after their house was damaged by Hurricane Florence, detailed in the following excerpt from a recent reflection:

“George said, ‘This isn’t our first disaster. We had a fire 25 years ago and lost everything.’ So they understand that recovery becomes a process and takes time. But the couple also needs some help. They asked the Team Rubicon sawyer team if, once they get done with the trees, would they help tarp the roof, since rain is expected again soon.

Bob McKay, Operation Silver Sun sawyer team lead, promised the couple that they would, and he then conducted an under the house assessment to see if their crawl space had standing water or any problems, before completing an assessment of their whole house. McKay said they would help them demolish the wood floors and do some other necessary work that was making the house in unlivable condition. The homeowners also asked if TR could help load the movable storage POD when it arrived on October 2, since they couldn’t lift and carry everything themselves. McKay said he would make sure TR would be there.”

How You Can Help

If you're interested in supporting Team Rubicon's veteran volunteers and their disaster relief efforts, give today. Each contribution helps Team Rubicon deploy more volunteers and serve more communities in need following devastating disasters. You can visit Team Rubicon's Charity Navigator page to learn more.

Written by our friends at Team Rubicon.

There are a number of highly-rated charities working alongside Team Rubicon to help victims of Hurricanes Florence and Michael, as well as other natural disasters. You can find a few of them listed below, or access a complete list of charities responding to these crises here.

All Hands and Hearts Smart Response 
☆☆☆☆ + Impact
Response. Recovery. Resilience. Renewal.

All Hands and Hearts Smart Response efficiently and effectively addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. By listening to local people, and deploying their unique model of engaging volunteers to enable direct impact, they rebuild safe, resilient schools, homes and other community infrastructure. All Hands and Hearts Smart Response is the result of a merger between All Hands Volunteers and Happy Hearts Fund.

Heart to Heart International
Connecting you to a world in need

Heart to Heart International is improving global health through humanitarian initiatives that connect people and resources to a world in need. They have a global mission to create a healthier world. Every year, they make a positive impact in the lives of millions of people in more than 60 countries, including the United States. They develop humanitarian programs that promote health and wellness. They deliver results in these programs using two key strategies - the energy of volunteers and equity of strategic partners. And, they help volunteers and partners alike make a quality humanitarian connection to a world in need.

International Relief Teams
Providing medical and non-medical assistance to the victims of disaster

International Relief Teams alleviates human suffering by providing health services and humanitarian assistance to victims of disaster, neglect, and profound poverty worldwide. Since 1988, International Relief Teams has provided $6.5 million in volunteer services and $308 million in medicines and supplies to families in desperate need in 68 countries worldwide. International Relief Teams focuses on two core activities: 1) disaster relief and 2) building healthy communities. During disasters, International Relief Teams chooses appropriate responses to leverage donor resources to their highest effectiveness, including deploying medical and reconstruction teams, providing relief supplies, or financing the restoration of livelihoods and infrastructure. International Relief Teams builds healthy communities by providing a) medical training to save babies' lives, b) surgeries for the forgotten poor, c) eyeglasses to improve sight, d) medicines for rural hospitals and clinics, e) nutrition and education support for abused, abandoned and homeless children.

Direct Relief
☆☆☆☆ + Impact
Deliver a world of good

Direct Relief is a humanitarian organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. Nongovernmental, nonsectarian, and not-for-profit, Direct Relief provides assistance to people and communities without regard to politics, religion, ethnic identities or ability to pay. Direct Relief's assistance programs, which focus on emergency preparedness and disaster response and the prevention and treatment of disease, are tailored to the particular circumstances and needs of the world's most vulnerable and at-risk populations. Direct Relief’s tradition of transparent, direct and targeted assistance, provided in a manner that respects and involves the people served, has been a hallmark of the organization since its founding in 1948.

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1 comment:

Willie Philips said...

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