Receiving Flood Assistance from My Fellow Greyshirts

Steven Landt

Steven Landt is an Air Force veteran and served as a Firefighter-Paramedic for 22 years. He currently serves as the Illinois State Training Coordinator.

Elisabeth, my kids, and I were enjoying our three-day family reunion in Wisconsin. An email blast came from Team Rubicon to help large scale flood victims a half hour from my home. It was a no-brainer. I submitted my availability and received deployment orders to Operation Fox Yeah.

The rain was heavy on our way home. We arrived to find a foot of water in our basement. This never happens. The floor drains were clear. We unplugged our washer/dryer, fridge and turned the gas off to our furnace and water heater.

By the time we pulled our new washer out to the yard the water had risen three feet. The fridge and storage shelves were floating on their sides, an odd site. My wife, our kids and I immediately tried to salvage our treasures pulling them out of the water and into the yard. I informed the Team Rubicon Command and General Staff that I would not be able to make it out to the operation since I’d be busy getting my flooded home back in order. My heart smiled at their reply, “What time do you want us there tomorrow?” I did not feel worthy, knowing other people likely had it much worse than we did. So, I declined the offer.

There’s something unique and special that happens during times of disaster. Human love and kindness is authentic and plentiful. Family and friends offered help moving and sorting items, making meals, and taking our laundry to ease our burden. We spent days and nights busting our humps. Our backs hurt, we stunk, our clothes were ripe, the skin on our hands was wrinkled, kinda like after being in the bath tub too long, our yard was a mess, and there was no end in sight.

After a few days, we decided to swallow our pride and ask Team Rubicon for help. They asked what we needed and told us to expect a strike team in the morning to help muck us out. We were so relieved knowing solid help was on the way. A.C., Ben, Jacki, and Bob showed up to help with the heavy work. A.C. made a special request to be there personally for my family.

I was proud to wear my grey shirt working shoulder to shoulder with my wife, my kids and my team, my people. We all kicked ass together and had the rest of our belongings out in no time. My wife commented on how awesome the volunteers were, so diligent and self-sufficient. They offered to help however they could. She especially appreciated the kind words and empathy offered by Jacki as they carefully sorted through our treasures and memories.

Volunteers even took the time to check on us later that day and the following morning. We were ok, but we were spent. Terrance, Sue, Aldy, and a really nice, hardworking, quiet fella whose name escapes me showed up the next day as our strike team. Each day after a handshake and hug, my team moved on to help other flood victims in my neighborhood.

My friends and neighbors were so happy to have the strong backs and caring souls that are Team Rubicon volunteers helping them recover.

We are completely humbled being on this side of a disaster. After experiencing this very personal intrusion and devastating loss in our own home, there came a feeling that reached deep into our hearts. We realized people we didn’t even know from Wisconsin, Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Alaska, and across the United States came together to be here for us. They expected nothing in return. Knowing they are all military veterans, first responders, and kickass civilians made it even more special. Simply put, I love Team Rubicon.