« Back to Press Release / News

Team of veterans help clean up after Claiborne County tornado

mm
Allie Spillyards

Allie Spillyards is a news reporter with WVLT-TV in Knoxville, TN.

SPEEDWELL, Tenn. (WVLT) – The huge cleanup in Claiborne and Campbell counties is underway. And all the tornado damage couldn’t have been cleared away up without the help of neighbors far and wide.

Through the roar of chain saws, it’s hard to tell this group apart from any of the others lending a hand.

“Disasters really bring the community together, and we’re really glad. We just blend right in, and everybody treats us extremely well. Just like we’re part of the family out here,” says Greg Parham of Team Rubicon.

But what you can’t tell at first glance is Team Rubicon is almost all veterans from Tennessee and neighboring states.

“I’m a Vietnam veteran myself, but it’s good for us to get together. Plus it makes you feel so good to serve people. We’ve served once and we’re serving again,” said Parham.

The group drives through disaster zones like in Speedwell looking for homes or people who need a little help.

People like Chris Esidore, who found out about the storm by phone.

“Sunday night was scary because my parents called us, let us know something had happened,” Esidore told our Allie Spillyards.

A homebuilder by trade, Esidore refurbished this house with his own two hands.

The house was spared, but the trees must come down.

Esidore admits it’s not easy to watch the old oaks go, but he’ll always have a memento for his wall, signed by the whole team.

“I’m not used to getting things from people. I don’t like to. It just means everything,” says Esidore. “The best part of all is just seeing the community you help. People helping people. It’s a great thing. people should do that more.”