HAMILTON, Miss. (WCBI) – One of the out of town organizations helping out in Hamilton is an international group made up of volunteers.
It’s called Team Rubicon and it focuses on disaster recovery efforts, not just in the United States, but other countries, as well.
Team Rubicon goes into disaster areas to clean up damage caused by tornadoes, floods, fire and hurricanes.
The EF2 tornado brought 15 of those volunteers to Hamilton, last week.
They’ve been helping with clean up and recovery efforts throughout the area.
“We got a call on my cell phone and it said, ‘grab your Go Bag, you’re going to go to Monroe County.’ And I said, ‘ Great! Where is it’? And then a couple of days later, I started driving here from Asheville,” said Team Rubicon volunteer Lt. Commander Paul Karlsson.
The long drive from North Carolina to Hamilton, Mississippi, is nothing new for Retired Navy Lt. Commander Paul Karlsson.
He’s been a part of Team Rubicon since 2016.
His first mission was the Gatlinburg, Tennessee wildfires, and there have been many since then.
“I was in Mexico Beach in Panama City, which still looks like a war zone, and so you don’t really get used to it, but you’re not surprised.”
“Veterans, first responders and just the average Joe, mom and pop. They’re looking for something else to do. It could be mom and dad, empty-nesters now, what do we do? Team Rubicon is the place for everybody and everybody has a place in Team Rubicon, not everybody has to come out and do heavy work. Not everybody has to come out and drive what’s called a skid-steer, to help move bigger pieces of lumber,” said Team Rubicon member Jim Augherton.
70% of Team Rubicon volunteers are military veterans.
“A lot of people are here because they kind of lose a sense of purpose, sometimes. When you leave the military, and then one of the best YouTube videos is entitled, “Finding Purpose” and so here, we’re saving ourselves by saving others.”
On top of finding that purpose and helping disaster victims pick up the pieces, the group also helps towns and cities save money.
“Each person is assigned a numerical value and at the end, all of the hours are tabulated up that we put in and they submit all of the paperwork to the local EOC, which in turn, moves it up their chain of command and somewhere along the line, monetary value is returned back to the affected area.”
The volunteers in Hamilton are from all over the country.
For more information on Team Rubicon click here.