Volunteers Roll Out for Tennessee Tornado Response

Julie H. Case

Greyshirts bring chainsaw and heavy equipment operations, debris removal, and roof tarping to those affected by December 9 twisters.

Team Rubicon has launched the first of its operations in response to the severe storms and tornadoes that touched down in Tennessee on Saturday, December 9. 

From December 13 to December 26, more than two dozen volunteers—or Greyshirts—will deploy to Montgomery County, TN, to assist the community with tornado recovery. 

The Tennessee tornado operation is not Team Rubicon’s first twister response in the area. Over the past 11 years, the veteran-led nonprofit has conducted six tornado response operations in Kentucky and eight in Tennessee. Earlier this year, Team Rubicon deployed Greyshirts to McCracken County, KY, to help clean up after an EF-2 tornado touched down there in early March. In 2022, Greyshirts deployed to Cheatham County—located between Clarksville and Nashville—to conduct tornado recovery operations for an EF-2 tornado there in December of the previous year. 

In ’21 and ’22, Team Rubicon conducted its largest tornado operations to date in Kentucky’s Graves, Caldwell, and Warren counties—just to the north of Clarksville, TN. More than 700 Greyshirts deployed in response to the December ’21 tornadoes, which hit nearby Mayfield and Dawson Springs especially hard, delivering more than $1.9 million worth of volunteer labor and serving 725 individuals. 

Now, Team Rubicon expects to put roughly 30 pairs of boots on the ground a day for the next two weeks to serve homeowners attempting to recover from this December’s Tennessee tornadoes. Greyshirts will conduct heavy equipment and chainsaw operations to remove tornado debris blocking access to roads, driveways, and homes. Volunteers will also tarp roofs damaged by the Tennessee tornadoes and remove tornado debris from around and within damaged homes.

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