Trained and Ready

Trained and Ready
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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.

As Team Rubicon volunteers, we take pride in our collective ability to adapt to adverse conditions and tackle the jobs that others can’t or won’t. We’ve brought the skills we’ve developed through our experiences both on and off the battlefield to aid in disaster zones across the globe. However, we’d be lying if we said training wasn’t an integral part of preparing us, both physically and mentally, for the hardships we face on each and every operation.

As an organization, TR is putting significant resources into developing programs to train volunteers across numerous subject areas critical to TR’s success in the field, such as chainsaws, heavy equipment, and various software and communications systems. As we start to formally train volunteers in these areas, in Region 1 we have begun to test the concept of forming small, rapidly-deployable teams to support operations where there’s a demand for personnel with these specialized skills.

Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to put this idea to the test and send a small team of individuals who attended Region 1’s Chainsaw Operation & Safety course in October to Pennsylvania to assist with Operation: Valley Forge. With less than a day’s notice, six volunteers packed up their gear and drove 11 hours from New England to West Chester, PA to help staff up the chainsaw teams already on the ground.

Last October, Region 1 hosted a Chainsaw Operation and Safety course and went hard on some tree limbs.
Last October, Region 1 hosted a Chainsaw Operation and Safety course and went hard on some tree limbs.

In one day, our team was able to add nine additional work orders requiring chainsaw expertise to the operation’s total. Safety lessons, cutting techniques, and maintenance tips proved critical to safely and efficiently tackling all of the downed trees the team was faced with. But perhaps more importantly, the team was humbled to have the opportunity to work together with fellow TR volunteers from Regions 2 and 3 to provide relief to the PA community. While our chainsaw team filled a need, it was only a small part of a much larger team effort that transcended regional lines.

Members of Region 1, 2 and 3 joined forces for Operation: Valley Forge in West Chester, PA.
Members of Region 1, 2 and 3 joined forces for Operation: Valley Forge in West Chester, PA.

This past weekend, Region 1 also hosted TR’s first Heavy Equipment Operator course. In similar fashion to the chainsaw training, our hope is that we can begin to form teams of skilled heavy equipment operators to improve our effectiveness in the field, and in turn better serve our communities in need.

Members of Region 1 hosted TR's first ever Heavy Equipment Operator course last weekend.
Members of Region 1 hosted TR’s first ever Heavy Equipment Operator course last weekend.

Written by Region 1 communications manager Dana Braverman