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Veterans put ‘boots on the ground’ to help tornado victims

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Kirk McCracken

I'm the Managing Editor for the Sand Springs Leader and Mannford Eagle.

A group of veterans are sleeping on floors and in campers to help the tornado victims in Sand Springs.

Sand Springs Chamber President Mary Eubanks and Rex Lee, of Veterans Outreach Ministries, have teamed up to house and feed around 20 veterans that are in Sand Springs with “boots on the ground” to help clean up the damage done by several tornadoes March 25.

“The chaplain of the (Tulsa County) Sheriff’s Office contacted me and asked if I could house a group of vets, Team Rubicon, that help for disaster relief. These guys and ladies are sleeping on the floor right now but we’ve got some RVs and hopefully we’ve got some more coming,” Lee said.

Several churches are fixing food the for the veterans and some businesses have donated money and gas cards to get the veterans from place to place.

However, this has been expensive for Lee. The port-a-potties that were in the River Oaks mobile home were removed and he is paying for new ones out of his own pocket. He has also paid for food and gas for the veterans to do their jobs.

Lee would like to see the community donate money or buy QuikTrip gas cards for the vets. He would also like to be reimbursed for the port-a-potty rentals.

It’s been reported that Tulsa County was in charge of the port-a potties and removed them Monday afternoon.

Team Rubicon’s website said: “When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, the river in northern Italy, at the head of his legions and marched on Rome, it marked a point of no return. The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has since survived in reference to any group committing itself to a risky course of action.

On Jan. 17, 2010, despite government and large aid organization’s advice not to proceed, Team Rubicon members crossed the Artibonite River separating the Dominican Republic and Haiti, carrying crucial gear and medical supplies to the people of Port-au-Prince. Once across, they were irrevocably committed to their task. Hence the name: Team Rubicon.”

Eubanks said four men representing the organization “His Helping Hands” arrived on Friday and worked through Saturday evening.

She said these organizations go from storm to storm, helping to remove debris, cut down limbs and assist in any way possible.