Region 5 is Launching Operation: Silversides in Michigan

Hey Michigan, members of Region 5 will soon be convening in Muskegon County after straight line winds ripped through the area earlier this week causing significant tree and property damage. Furthermore, heavy rains led to widespread flood damage.

We’re deploying a team of sawyers, Palantir specialists, and other able-bodied workhorses to Western Michigan to manhandle some downed trees and muck.

Regional leaders will be standing up the FOB in the local Home Depot parking lot and supporting the City of Muskegon and local emergency response agencies with cleanup efforts. Currently, volunteers within 300 miles of Muskegon are being recruited to support Operation: Silversides. Members of Region 5 are encouraged to visit OrgAction for more information and to register their availability. Let’s get dirty.

Wondering how you can support our team in the field? Consider making a donation to keep this engine running.

In the Words of a Clay Hunt Fellow

Region 1 communications manager Dana Braverman sat down with Clay Hunt Fellow Ryan Ginty to get a participant’s perspective on the Clay Hunt Fellows Program.

Air Force veteran Ryan Ginty spent several weeks supporting Operation: Starting Gun in Moore, Oklahoma.

Air Force veteran and Clay Hunt Fellow Ryan Ginty spent several weeks supporting Operation: Starting Gun in Moore, Oklahoma.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I am an Air Force Security Forces veteran and deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. I now coach rugby at the University of Hartford for both  men and  women as well as a high school team for at-risk youth in Hartford.

What is the Clay Hunt Fellows Program?
The fellowship is a great leadership program sponsored by Team Rubicon in the spirit of Clay Hunt. It’s meant to train and equip members with the skills necessary to be an effective leader downrange, at home, and in your day-to-day life. The CHFP provides future emergency managers with training at Loyola Marymount University, Sigma Six Training, NIMS advanced courses, and the opportunity to participate in a number of different EMA symposiums, among other things.

What motivated you to apply for the fellowship?
Throughout my time at Team Rubicon, I constantly find myself feeling honored to work among the volunteers in this organization. Everyone who puts on a TR shirt makes a promise to the guy or girl next to them that they will work to make the world a better place. The feeling is very cathartic, especially for those veterans who may be dealing with the issues that arise from their military deployments. It’s a feeling of shared purpose, and it is what bonded us together in the military, regardless of what that purpose was.

Team Rubicon reminds me of what it was like to serve with my brothers overseas, and provides a positive outlet for all volunteers. It has helped me find direction and has added direction I have found hard to find in other areas of civilian life.

What is your favorite part of the CHFP?
It’s two really, and I’m going with that because it’s too hard to decide. The bonds I’ve made with the Fellows I have been lucky enough to work with have been deep, and the work has yielded new programs to implement throughout TR Nation. Which brings me to my other favorite part, the Capstone. We are also responsible for developing a Capstone that highlights a need in TR, and we are to develop a program to address that need.

Ginty deployed to the Philippines during Operation: Seabird to provide relief following Typhoon Haiyan.

Ginty deployed to the Philippines during Operation: Seabird to provide relief following Typhoon Haiyan.

Tell us about your Capstone project.
My Capstone project stems from Operation: Seabird, the response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. While we were there, we witnessed a serious gap in intelligence and in general situational awareness. For my Capstone I am putting together a working group of subject matter experts from within TR’s ranks to develop and International Reconnaissance and Assessment Team (IRAT). We will provide a framework from which the IRAT will operate with roles and responsibilities for each team member. The idea is that the IRAT will have skilled disaster medical technicians, communications experts, civil affairs, SAR capabilities, and other specialties needed in a disaster zone. The goal of the IRAT is to get eyes on intelligence and channel that back to HQ and other organizations.

Who should apply for CHFP?
If you are serious about TR, and want a good challenge, and have some good ideas, bring them to the table. CHFP is an awesome program that’s only going to get better as the classes grow. The programs staff does a great job facilitating your growth and is there to answer any questions.

APPLY. We need good leaders to step up and take this organization to the top, and you may be that person, but won’t know unless you apply.

For more information and to apply, please visit http://teamrubiconusa.org/clay-hunt-fellows-program-application/

Operation: Steelhead Wraps Up in Washington

In response to the landslide that devastated the town of Oso, Washington on March 22, Region 10 launched Operation: Steelhead to provide assistance to those affected in any way possible. Regional leaders and members located near Snohomish County (14 in total) were grateful to have the opportunity to serve and support the relief efforts of local emergency management agencies on site.

Because of the severity of destruction that left much of the area unsalvageable, Operation: Steelhead was limited to a small-scale response. As requested, our team assisted the City of Arlington EOC in constructing a donation management plan, worked with the National Guard to help with volunteer supervision at donation drop and distribution sites, and mucked out a home in the affected area.

We were honored to play a small role in aiding the community of Oso and will remain ready to provide any additional support, should it be requested.

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Members of Region 10 gathered in Oso, Washington to provide support following the landslide that devastated the community in March.

Team Rubicon Salutes National Volunteer Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Team Rubicon Salutes National Volunteer Week

LOS ANGELES, April 4, 2014 – Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization, joins nonprofits across the country in recognizing National Volunteer Week, April 6-12. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the celebration, heralding the vital role volunteers play in communities across the country.

Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week has grown every year since its inception and now includes the support and endorsement of all subsequent U.S. presidents and many governors, mayors, and elected officials throughout the country.

“Our volunteers take time from their families, jobs and the comforts of home to help others—for no gain other than fulfilling a continued sense of purpose,” said Jake Wood, CEO and cofounder of Team Rubicon. “For them, a simple thank you and an occasional hug is worth more than any paycheck.”

Volunteer labor brings significant savings to nonprofit organizations. Altogether, Team Rubicon volunteers engaged in 87,282 hours last year. The estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $2 million, based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour ($22.14 in 2012).

Beyond these cost savings, volunteers make a measurable difference in the communities they serve. For example, Team Rubicon saved homeowners in Oklahoma an estimated $3.7 million in recovery costs through debris removal and home repairs, following devastating tornadoes last year.

Team Rubicon unites the skills of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Beyond disaster relief, Team Rubicon helps veterans find a renewed sense of purpose, which is vital as many return to civilian life after more than a decade of war.

Since its founding in 2010, the organization has grown to 15,000 members and has conducted 53 operations including the Haiti Earthquake, Superstorm Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and recent winter storms across the country.

The rapid growth, according to Wood, is a credit to the skills and experience of its volunteers which seamlessly translate to disaster work—including search and rescue, field medicine, damage assessment, debris removal, and volunteer management.

When not responding to disasters, Team Rubicon volunteers take part in community service projects, training opportunities, and social events that build camaraderie and promote a sense of community.

April 12, Team Rubicon will join with fellow nonprofits The Mission Continues, and Team Red, White and Blue, for the third-annual Run As One, a 5K run that will bring together thousands of veterans and supporters in over 60 cities. There is no fee for the run, and the public is invited to take part.

“Whether they are veterans, first responders or civilians, our volunteers represent the best that America has to offer,” said Wood. “Recognizing their efforts is the very least we can do, and I encourage everyone to follow their lead.”

To register for Run As One, or to learn how you can support Team Rubicon’s mission, visit www.teamrubiconusa.org.

About Team Rubicon Team Rubicon (TR) unites the skills and experience of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. TR offers veterans a chance to continue their service by helping and empowering those afflicted by disasters, and also themselves. For more about Team Rubicon, visit www.teamrubiconusa.org.

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Rommel Harley Davidson Poker Run on May 31

Not only do TR members and Harley Davidson riders share an affinity for loud engines and gnarly tats, both serve and appreciate the veteran community. So we’re joining forces with Rommel Harley Davidson for the first ever five-store Poker Run to benefit TR. Pretty badass, right?

The Poker Run goes down on Saturday, May 31 from 10 am  to 6 pm. Prizes will be awarded for best hand, second best hand, and the worst. The first 500 riders will receive a complimentary T-shirt, and lapel pins will be given to the first 50 to register. For more information, check out the flyer here.

We’re kicking off early registration online at fundraise.teamrubiconusa.org/hdride. Participants can also register at the following Rommel Harley Davidson store locations:

  • Annapolis, MD – Saturday, April 12 from 10 am to 2 pm
  • Delmarva, DE – Saturday, April 12 from 10 am to 2 pm
  • Smyrna, DE – Saturday, April 12 from 10 am to 2 pm
  • Durham, NC – Saturday, April 12 from 10 am to 2 pm
  • New Castle, DE – Friday, April 18 from 5 pm to 9 pm or Saturday, April 19 from 10 am to 4 pm

Come on out, let the wind slap you around a bit, and support the team.

Start Your Two-Stroke Engines

Last weekend, members of Region 8 got after some timber during a chainsaw training course in Jamestown, CO. The team tackled technique, safety, and maintenance in a couple hours. Allow us to introduce you to a few badass attendees who’ll be promptly adding “tree surgeon” to their résumé:

Name: Erin Moe Hometown: Longmont, CO Military Experience: 3 years USAF medic Key takeaway from the training: “Safety!” Children’s toy that describes you: Plastic Bowling Set TR member since: APR2013

Name: Erin Moe
Hometown: Longmont, CO
Military experience: 3 years USAF medic
Key takeaway from training: “Safety!”
TR member since: APR2013

Name: Jesse Bucholtz Hometown: Porterfield, WI Military Experience: 10 years USAF, Seismic Maintenance Technician Key takeaway from training: “This class will improve our chainsaw performance ten-fold.” Children’s toy that best describes you: Shape sorting and recognition toy TR members since: SEP2013 (R8’s Resource Manager)

Name: Jesse Bucholtz
Hometown: Porterfield, WI
Military experience: 10 years USAF, Seismic Maintenance Technician
Key takeaway from training: “This class will improve our chainsaw performance ten-fold.”
TR members since: SEP2013 (R8’s Resource Manager)

Name: Victoria Young Hometown: Broomfield, CO Military Experience: 9 years and counting in the USN Reserves; OIF (2009-2010), OEF (2012-2013) Key takeaway from the training: “Chainsaws aren’t as intimidating as you might think.” Children’s toy that best describes you: Tickle-Me-Elmo TR member since: OCT2013

Name: Victoria Young
Hometown: Broomfield, CO
Military experience: 9 years and counting in the USN Reserves; OIF (2009-2010), OEF (2012-2013)
Key takeaway from the training: “Chainsaws aren’t as intimidating as you might think.”
TR member since: OCT2013

Name: George Newell Hometown: Boulder, CO Military experience: 5 years USMC, A6 Intruder Pilot; OIF1 (2003-2004) Key takeaway from training: “A lot of good enthusiasm in the crew. People are willing to learn!” Children’s toy that best describes you: Paper Airplane TR member since: APR2013

Name: George Newell
Hometown: Boulder, CO
Military experience: 5 years USMC, A6 Intruder Pilot; OIF1 (2003-2004)
Key takeaway from training: “A lot of good enthusiasm in the crew. People are willing to learn!”
TR member since: APR2013

Name: Craig Robinson Hometown: Denver, CO Military experience: 13 years and counting in USAR, Major, PA-C Key takeaway from training: “Don’t flood the engine!” TR member since: JAN2014

Name: Craig Robinson
Hometown: Denver, CO
Military experience: 13 years and counting in USAR, Major, PA-C
Key takeaway from training: “Don’t flood the engine!”
TR member since: JAN2014

Wisconsin natives and Air Force veterans Elizabeth O'Herrin and Jesse Bucholtz get after some timber in Jamestown, CO.

Wisconsin natives and Air Force veterans Elizabeth O’Herrin and Jesse Bucholtz got nasty on some tree bark with proper PPE.

 Written by Colorado Communications Coordinator Chris Epps

Remembering Clay

Today marks three years since we lost Clay Hunt. Dave Smith, a Marine veteran, world traveler, and dedicated member of Team Rubicon currently serving in The World Race, shared the following in memory of Clay:  

Clay Warren Hunt. Marine, Scout Sniper, Purple Heart recipient. Big-hearted humanitarian, sheepish grin, always making new friends. He had a big tattoo on his forearm that read, “Not all who wander are lost” and it suited him perfectly. Clay was one of those guys you just wanted to be friends with. His smile and laughter were contagious and his heart was driven to help and serve others. He was a son, a brother, and a best friend.

Taken in honor of Clay during Dave's time in India this month.

Taken in honor of Clay during Dave’s time in India this month.

Growing up, he loved to spend time on his grandfather’s farm in Texas, hunting and fishing. He was a Texas boy to his core and damn proud of it. He loved life, loved his family, and loved showing others that life had so much more to offer than they ever dreamed possible. He was so good at unlocking the mysteries of life that sometimes, I wondered if he was hiding the keys around his neck, next to the HOG’s Tooth he received after completing the Scout Sniper Basic Course. His apartment was full of books on philosophy to history to the classics and everything in between. Once while standing in his apartment, I asked why he had so many books that he never read. Boy, was I wrong. I got the Cliff Notes version on each and then some.

I met Clay in the way that any two good Marines meet each other: at a bar. I was living in Manhattan Beach, CA at the time and I had a friend in town who I had served with in the Marines. He was now a Sergeant in the elite Force Reconnaissance Company, just back from a deployment to Afghanistan. Ben was one of my favorite junior Marines during my second deployment and we trained together while he was preparing for Recon. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while, so it was nice to have the chance to catch up and have a few beers overlooking the Manhattan Beach pier. Anyone who’s ever been to MB knows about Shellback tavern. It’s the perfect beach dive bar with surfboards on the ceiling, wooden surfboard tables, and even Pebble Beach golf arcade game and Pac-Man.

So, we were sitting having a beer and catching up when this guy in an American flag baseball cap walks up to Ben and says, “Hey, I know you.” Ben and I look at each other and just kind of stare blankly at the guy and Ben says, “No, I don’t think so.” To which Clay replies “Yeah, I do. We went to School of Infantry together. Ben, right?” The funny thing about the Marine Corps is that it’s one big family and once you are brothers, you are brothers for life. So, as you can imagine, there were some hugs and some trading of war stories and a few more beers.

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Family Matters

Michael Clancy, 19, is a volunteer member residing in Dickson, TN, about 40 miles outside of Nashville. His mother, Dee Clancy, is a Navy veteran, Region 4 Programs Manager, and a member of the first class of the Clay Hunt Fellows Program. TR runs deep in Clancyville.

They’re the first to explain how the organization serves as a big, crazy, hyper-functional family. Since Michael returned from Operation: Frozen Oak back in February, he put traveling at the top of his priority list in order to spend time with friends and family.

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Michael Clancy is one of 15,000 members of TR committed to manhandling disasters across the globe.

Before embarking on the state of Florida, Michael sent out a quick Facebook message: “Does anyone have couch space in Pensacola?” Within minutes the responses poured in. “Nobody even really knew who I was,” said Michael. “But they knew I was in TR. They knew I was one of them. I felt so welcomed and was excited to meet members of my extended family.”

Michael showed up at the home of TR volunteer Julie Cox and she greeted him with open arms. They had a lengthy conversation about what led them to TR before calling it a night. Later, Michael went on to visit more friends and eventually landed in New Orleans, LA, where he connected with Region 6 communications manager Erica Chomsky. The pattern continued.

Some necessary horseplay during Operation: Starting Gun in Oklahoma last year.

Some necessary horseplay during Operation: Starting Gun in Oklahoma last year.

Those in TR Nation take separate paths before convening and devoting our time to service, to not only help disaster-stricken communities, but ourselves. We are a unique, beautiful, and often strange family, but we prefer it that way. Whether it’s crashing on a fellow member’s couch, casting an open invitation to a Thanksgiving feast, or being available for phone calls late at night, we’re there for each other.

When Michael Clancy returned home, he left with a few bags of Mardi Gras beads (purchased, of course), a new friend in Pensacola, and more love from his TR family than he could carry.

Written by Region 6 communications manager Erica Chomsky

Q&A with Region 5 Administrator Bob Pries

Region 5 Communications Manager Pam Gieselman hit up Army veteran Bob Pries of Farmington Hills, IL, who was recently named Team Rubicon’s Region 5 Administrator.

Former Army combat medic Bob Pries takes on the role of Region 5 Administrator after serving on Operation: Honest Abe in Washington, IL.

P: What’s your background with TR?
B: I was a volunteer and Operations Section Chief in Washington, IL for Operation: Honest Abe. Earlier this year, I was brought in as the Michigan Field Operations Coordinator and recently became the Regional Administrator of Region 5.

P: Are you a veteran?
B: Yes. I served with the U.S. Army as a combat medic. From 1968 to 1974, I served three years of active duty. I deployed on two tours in Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th ID and 1st Battalion 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th ID.

P: How and why did you join TR?
B: I’ve worked for many years assisting my fellow Vietnam veterans and participating in community volunteer work from time to time. I read about TR online during the summer of 2013. After learning about the mission, principles, and operation history, I thought, “Wow, I need to join this team.”  I immediately signed up.

P: Do you have a favorite moment from your time on Operation: Honest Abe?
B: In that final week, the temperatures were near zero, with strong winds putting the temperatures well below zero. Suffice it to say, it was brutally cold. However, this did not deter our unbelievably mission-focused, caring people who are TR. 

The homeowners I interacted with during this time expressed their amazement that TR would continue to work in such conditions and were very thankful. Those interactions were personally humbling and reinforced the importance of the work TR performs.

The memory of our team rockin’ it with a defiant, “Bring it, Mom Nature!” attitude in those brutally cold conditions will forever bring a smile to my face.

P: What is your favorite tool to use on a deployment?
B: Sledgehammer.  It breaks things. 

P: As the new Regional Administrator, what’s your vision for Region 5?
B: This question brings out the old HR/business dude in me.  I see the vision as a picture of the future. With that in mind, it’s important to note we have a highly skilled team to execute our missions with excellence. We take care of each other and others in their time of need. We work hard and play hard, and we’re proud of our collective and individual accomplishments. We should all be proud to say, “We are Region 5, we never quit!”

P: Anything else you’d like to share with TR Nation?
B: If you haven’t already done so, I encourage TR members to complete ICS 100, 200, 700 and 800 free online training.  The skills gained in the Incident Command System courses build individual capability and that of our mission critical skills needed for success.

Lastly, I offer one of my favorites quotes and a question as food for thought:  “The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” (– Kalu Kalu) What will be your legacy?

Former Army combat medic Bob Pries gets dirty with his crew in Region 5 during Operation: Honest Abe.

Former Army combat medic Bob Pries gets dirty with his crew in Region 5 during Operation: Honest Abe.

Now Accepting Bitcoin Donations

There are a slew of ways to get on the team and support what we do here at Team Rubicon. You can donate your sweat, smarts, hard-earned dollars, and now, we’re accepting donations in the form of Bitcoin, a digital currency that allows users to conduct transactions online, peer-to-peer. Get answers to FAQs on Bitcoin here.

Recently, Vaurum created a donation wallet and the Bitcoin community came together to support the foundation of TR Global, an effort to replicate TR’s disaster response model in other countries.

Donate Bitcoin and help us deploy more veterans and first responders to provide aid to those affected by natural disasters.