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Volunteers arrive to help Pasco flood victims

Leah Masuda

Pasco County Reporter at Bay News 9, Wife, ASU Sun Devil Grad #CronkiteNation, SF Bay Area Native, Dog Lover.

As the flood waters recede in Pasco County volunteer teams are being deployed to help those who have been impacted.

You’ll see a lot of people cleaning out homes in the coming weeks. You may also get a knock on your door as volunteer teams meet people in the community who have been impacted by the flooding.

The county is busy picking up debris from homes but the volunteer groups are getting their hands especially dirty.

“They’ve come from Minnesota, they’ve come from North Carolina, they’ve come from Tennessee, other places throughout the country,” said Ken Skalitzky, Emergency Management Director of Volunteer Florida. “Those teams have been assigned to areas throughout the flooded area and we have them making arrangements with home owners.”

One team in particular, Team Rubicon, just got into town, where they knocked on doors.

For residents at Suncoast Gateway Mobile Home Park, it was a pleasant surprise.

“It’s amazing that we have someone coming into help us,” said John Niswonger.

“It helps a lot of people in here a lot,” said Nancy Niswonger.

The Niswongers are on a fixed income and never dreamed they would have to leave their home in a boat just two weeks ago.

“Lost two vehicles, a golf cart,” said John. “It got in my house I’ve been fighting mold,” said Nancy. But now they have some hope.

For Team Rubicon it’s not just help for the residents, it’s help for themselves.

“It absolutely gives us that sense of mission again, camaraderie, people that have had the same experiences,” said Incident Commander, Bob Obernier. “So it’s a win-win for us, we get to help those affected by a disaster and it helps us as veterans.”

Six non-profit groups are meeting and hopefully make a big difference in these people’s lives. Those groups include: NECHAMA, Calvary Chapel from St. Pete, Samaritan’s Purse, Sheep Dog Impact Assistance, Team Rubicon and Florida Baptist Disaster Team.

“As Florida’s lead agency for volunteers and donations before, during, and after disasters, Volunteer Florida is proud to deploy our staff to Pasco County to help families and businesses get back on their feet following the recent flooding. We specialize in putting volunteers to work quickly and effectively so that they can serve as many families as possible. We’re thrilled to see Floridians, including a team of veterans, stepping up to help with the recovery process and we are proud to be a part of it.” –Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman.

If you’re home needs work call the Pasco County Resident Information Center: 727-847-2411