This past weekend, members of Region 2 headed to upstate New York to take part in a weekend of Wilderness First Aid training in Oriskany. Mustering before 0800 on Saturday to begin training for the day, the temperatures began to rise, and the minutes, then hours, ticked on, and still, there was no sign of the instructor. Then, the team learned the instructor had been in a car accident while en route to training. Thankfully, he was okay, but his car was totaled, and with that, training for the weekend was cancelled.
Never ones to sit back and relax, the team began calling around for a local area in need to create an impromptu service project. They reached Jeffrey Vollmar, Region 2 Field Operations Manager for southern New Jersey, who happened to be in nearby Smithfield, NY, a small town about 30 miles southeast of Syracuse. There, Vollmar was already assisting a local community that was hit with an unusual tornado early in the week. Several lives were lost and some homes completely destroyed.
All ten R2 members who showed up for training made the trip to Smithfield where they joined Vollmar, a Marine Corps veteran, to help an Air Force veteran whose life and family were torn apart. The team jumped into action to offer support, using recently learned chainsaw skills to clear trees and clean the property.
At the end of the day, Team Rubicon presented an American Flag to the homeowner and his family. Vollmar later reflected on the day’s service:
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families that lost loved ones when this tornado struck. Our team spoke with several surviving family members who shared hugs, tears, and handshakes with us. I’ve been with Team Rubicon since Superstorm Sandy struck and have been active on operations and service projects as often as I can. I often ask others, ‘What made you sign up with TR?’, and while I’ve received lots of different answers, they all lead down to the same conclusion: Because I want to continue serving my country and because it’s the right thing to do. I have looked into many pairs of eyes of people who have lost everything and there is no amount of money in the world that can take the place of the feeling you get when you are helping others in their time of need.”