I Gained More Than I Lost in the Illinois Floods

Kim Keefe

Kim Keefe was inspired and motivated after receiving assistance from her fellow Greyshirts when widespread flooding affected multiple counties in Illinois and Wisconsin.

When the flood hit our home on July 12, 2017, I stood on my front walkway with water to my knees, hands on my head, stunned. What the hell do we do? The water kept rising, the pumps kept pumping, and the fish started jumping in our front yard. With our whole block under hip-high water, there was literally nowhere to go.

That first morning, my sister and mom walked in carrying donuts and coffee above their heads to help us drag what was salvageable out of our 2 1/2 foot deep water soaked basement. Thankfully our garage was dry.

Fast forward about 55 hours, my husband Ben and I were working on four hours of sleep. Then Team Rubicon came in like a wave of brilliant sunlight shining in the dark. To say I was overwhelmed is just silly. To say I was relieved to see those Greyshirts, absurd.

Overwhelmed and relieved don’t begin to touch what I was feeling. Team Rubicon answered a call for help from us on the organization’s state Facebook page. They showed up and kindly pushed our tired minds and bodies out of the way and got shit done. Up until that day, I didn’t know what a “muck out” was.

They hauled, lifted, ripped, hammered, and crowbarred the hell out of our basement. They hugged my shoulders when I couldn’t hold the tears in anymore. They helped my child with Autism understand, they included my child with anxiety so that everything wasn’t so out of control. They became our extended family in mere hours.

Ben and I jumped in with both feet when Team Rubicon set up a large scale operation in our neighboring towns in Illinois. Ben had already been a TR member, and I had just a few things to get deployment ready. When I knocked out the training, I had crossed my Rubicon.

Volunteering on Operation Fox Yeah, I not only met amazing people, but I got to support them so they were ready and able to get up and kick ass. Working behind the scenes to help people has always been my gig. There was a bit of a learning curve, but it was my honor to serve the TRibe. Getting to hear the debrief at the end of every day solidified my commitment to serving with Team Rubicon for a long time.

Being surrounded with people who give up time with their own families, time away from paying jobs, and traveling from all over the globe in order to help *other* flood survivors was a gift. My family has gained so much from the Flood of 2017. I’m proud to get to be a Greyshirt!

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