Team Rubicon in Process of Transitioning Hurricane Sandy Operations to Long-Term Recovery Organizations

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Mike Lee

Mike Lee, a native of Chicago, graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Creative Writing. At LMU, Mike developed international and domestic volunteer trips and served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Student Veterans Organization. Mike’s professional background is in advertising and marketing, and has experience in executing large print and digital campaigns for non-profit and tourism clients. He lives in Los Angeles where he thinks a lot about dogs, bourbon, and the Chicago Bears.

Team Rubicon (TR) has been graced with overwhelming support from the communities we have served in response to the havoc Hurricane Sandy wrought upon the Eastern Seaboard.  We’ve made friends, developed partnerships, and grown as an organization because our services have been welcomed by citizens, local & federal agencies, and other relief organizations.  

TR is comprised of over 6,000 military veterans and first responders who work on a volunteer basis. We operate by bridging the critical time gap between large natural disaster and conventional aid by deploying small, fleet-footed emergency response teams. That said, TR does not specialize in long-term recovery.  After over three weeks of service, TR is now in the process of transitioning operations to two partners who specialize in long-term recovery. Both Americorps and NY Cares are assuming control of TR operations and will be in full control by December 3rd, when we end our Hurricane Sandy mission. This transition is being conducted in coordination with the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and involves TR training AmeriCorps and NY Cares volunteers to sustain the excellent services entrusted in us by many.

Operation: Greased Lightening has been TR’s largest mission to date. Since October 29th, TR deployed Veteran Emergency Response Teams (VERTs) from Boston to Washington D.C., including a sizable mission led by our New Jersey team in Union Beach and Ocean County. TR eventually consolidated our response in the Rockaways. As with many other disaster responses and in keeping with our model, TR was among the first national non-profits to deploy into the affected areas. With only seven full time staff, we are proud that our partnerships and structure allowed us to process and manage over 10,000 spontaneous volunteers.  

We’d specifically like to thank those Hurricane Sandy partners, for without them we could not have conducted such a successful response. In no particular order, they include: JetBlueBrooklyn BouldersThe Clinton Global InitiativeThe Home DepotGoldman SachsPalantir TechnologiesISTAT AirlinkMeal Kit Supply, MassifUrban AmericanBullardUS Safety, Verizon Wireless, GoalZero, East View Geospatial and many more. Because of these partnerships, to date, TR has completed over 700 work orders in the Rockaways in addition to search and rescue operations, route clearance, shelter and emergency operation center staffing.