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“Thank you, sweetheart”

Joe Cline

Joe Cline is a wildland firefighter and search and rescue operator. Joe deployed on his first operation in February 2015 in the wake of severe winter storms in his home state of Virginia.

I recently joined Team Rubicon and Operation: Three Forks is my first with the group.

While walking to our last house of the day, my partner and I noticed an older woman shoveling snow while wearing a back brace. I waved and smiled not knowing we were getting ready to work at this house. Not 30 seconds later, we were introducing ourselves and she said, “I am 68 years old and out here working.” I was humbled and impressed. We were able to serve this woman who was fighting for herself and she was so excited to see us there.

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Joe Cline (left) got busy getting dirty on Operation: Three Forks in Wise County, Virginia.

After shoveling a bit, we began working on her flooded basement where there was three feet of standing water. We inquired about a sump pump, but she informed us it was broken. We were able to repair it, and afterward, she gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you, sweetheart.” It was such a great feeling being able to help a lady who was trying to help herself but couldn’t complete the task. It spoke volumes about the true charge of TR – helping and serving the community while bringing fullness to my day.