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When an Operation is Both Business and Personal

For Jason Fournier, Hurricane Florence’s assault on North Carolina was personal, as well as business. Fournier’s dad was a career Marine who was stationed at Camp Lejeune so Jason grew up in the Tar Heel State and he went to Richlands High School in Richlands, NC an area hit hard by Florence.

Although Fournier has lived in Washington D.C. for 12 years, his parents both still have houses “about 25 miles south of New Bern. My friends are here too,” Fournier said, as he sat on a cot in the Team Rubicon New Bern Incident Command Center a week after the hurricane ravaged the area. Fournier is the LSC or Logistics Section Chief for the center in what TR has named Operation Silver Sun. “I get to help the people I care about,” Fournier said.

His mother found temporary homes for her five horses by reaching out to the horse community in North Carolina and surrounding states. And then she evacuated herself to relatives in Virginia. His mother’s house is surrounded by numerous large trees so she was concerned they would come down.

 

 

Fournier’s father evacuated too as his house sits among Carolina Pines. “With his Marine mentality, he was determined to stay,” Fournier said, “But my brother and I got to him leave. He hasn’t returned home yet so we don’t know how his house is.”

Fournier’s mother did return to find downed trees, but her house itself was fine, other than a few missing shingles and minor cosmetic damage. Her horses, however, will have to wait to return because of the rising water levels. The tenderness towards his mother was evident as Fournier said he hadn’t seen her property yet because he was “TR mission focused and needed to help the community as a whole. I can’t put my family to the front of the line. But they are telling everyone about Team Rubicon and how we’re here to help.”

Fournier called the team he was working with “great” and said working them was motivating and humbling. One thing that especially moved him was when the incident commander sent him to Home Depot to pick up more supplies, he ordered Fournier “to go see his mom” while he was out. Fournier eyes glistened when he said, “I got to hug my mom, and she and her house are okay.” And then, sporting a big grin, he repeated, “I got to hug my mom.”

Jill L. Ferguson is an artist, consultant, entrepreneur and author of eight books, most recently of the book Creating a Freelance Career (Routledge, August 2018).