Hurricane Ian Response Extends and Expands

Julie H. Case

Oct. 19, 2022: More than 325 volunteers are already deployed to Florida’s incredibly large, complex, and difficult disaster.

One month after Hurricane Ian, hundreds of thousands of Floridians are still trying to repair roofs, clean up flooding and debris, and make their homes livable again. In response, and to help those still struggling to recover, Team Rubicon has put more than 325 pairs of volunteer boots on the ground in counties across the state. The veteran-led disaster relief nonprofit has committed to serving up Hurricane Ian relief until at least the end of November.

Vice President of Operations Jeff Byard expects Team Rubicon’s Hurricane Ian response to be the largest in the organization’s 12-year history, for good reason. “Big needs require a big response,” says Byard. “When a storm of this power intersects with a population of this density you have a large, complex and difficult disaster. Now, the needs in Florida outnumber the resources.”

Team Rubicon volunteers muck a home in Port Charlotte, FL after Hurricane Ian. Photo by Jason Whitman.

Currently, Greyshirts are conducting muck outs and full home guts, tarping roofs, and providing sawyer and debris removal services in Charlotte, DeSoto, Lee, Polk, and Volusia counties. To date, Greyshirts have completed more than 250 work orders across the Sunshine State. 

In Fort Myers’s Lee County, Greyshirts have completed more than 105 work orders to date, from sawyer operations to roof tarping, hurricane debris removal, and muck outs. To the north, in Charlotte County, Greyshirts have provided vegetative and non-vegetative debris removal, mucked homes and tarped roofs for more than 80 homeowners. 

In nearby Desoto County Greyshirts also continue with mucking and tarping work, though in Polk County, between Tampa and Orlando, flooding has remained such a consistent issue that many homeowners have still not returned to some areas. Greyshirts there have continued to serve those who have returned, completing more than 50 tarping, debris removal, and muck-out work orders to date. 

And, on the east coast in Volusia County, volunteers continue to conduct vegetative and non-vegetative debris removal operations and muck outs for homeowners. 

The work in Florida is not Team Rubicon’s only current hurricane response: Greyshirts are also on the ground some 1,200 miles to the southeast, as the crow flies, in Puerto Rico, responding to Hurricane Fiona.

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