PHOTO: COurtesy Teamrubiconusa.org
COLUMBIA, Miss.–Picking the pieces after an EF3 tornado is not something that happens in a week, or even a month. With the help of Team Rubicon, though, the folks in Columbia might see it happen just a little faster. It’s bringing skills learned in the military to this Mississippi cleanup.
Twenty-five military veterans have joined the cleanup force in Marion County.
“We bring the skills that men and women have learned in years of service in the military and join them with first responders to help provide disaster relief, post-disaster,” said Bob Obernier, the team leader in Mississippi.
He’s a Navy vet and a retired fire battalion leader.
“We don’t do the rescue, but we do the debris removal, we help coordinate spontaneous volunteers, help manage other organizations and make sure things are coordinated for the victims.”
He said his team is working with Columbia Strong to coordinate volunteers.
He said there’s something else the organization, which was started in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, helps with is the reintegration of military veterans into the community.
“After we get out of the military, generally there’s something missing in our lives. When we bring ’em back together in teams like this, it really gives them that sense of mission and purpose, which is very therapeutic and very healing.”
THE WHOLE INTERVIEW
Obernier said that civilians can join the team, but they do require several FEMA diaster classes so volunteers don’t get hurt in disaster areas.
If you’re interested, the website is teamrubiconusa.org. He said there’s a direct link to join the team.