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Team Rubicon in Canada, Greece, and Sierra Leone

Matt Pelak

A career civil servant, Matt has spent over 15 years in the Army on active duty and in the National Guard, including a deployment to Iraq in 2004. Today, he is Team Rubicon's International Operations Chief, and has previously served as a contractor for the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service with multiple deployments to Iraq as well as work in Africa. In the civilian sector, Matt worked as a paramedic for over 12 years and in Poughkeepsie, NY as a firefighter/paramedic.

Intl_response_update_v3Team Rubicon members are serving across the world, providing medical aid and training as well as learning how we can support those affected by wildfires. Below is an update on our international responses:

Canada – Operation Pay Dirt

Since May 1, wildfires have destroyed over 18,500 acres and 1,600 structures in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Working with our Canadian partners, Team Rubicon deployed a recon team to learn how we can best support residents and we launched Operation Pay Dirt to provide incident, volunteer, and debris management in coordination with local authorities.

Greece – Operation Hermes 

For the last 12 months, thousands of Syrian refugees have been making their way to Europe, via Iraq and Turkey, as a result of the ongoing civil war and instability in Syria. This has placed a tremendous burden on Greece and other European countries, overloading public assistance programs and temporary housing accommodations while putting refugees at a high risk of injury, illness, or death.

Two Team Rubicon members are currently conducting emergency medical operations in and around Idomeni and northern Greece to help alleviate suffering and prevent further injury to the refugee population.

USMC veteran Breaux Burns treating a 10-month-old Syrian refugee with a respiratory infection in Greece.

Sierra Leone – Operation Sweet Bo

The Ebola crisis has devastated the already small health work force in Sierra Leone. As health system reconstruction efforts begin now that the crisis has subsided, members of the Sierra Leonean Diaspora, ASCOVIME, The Michael & Mauritia Patcha Foundation and School of Community Health Sciences, and Njala University in partnership with International Medical Corps, are initiating the project “Diaspora Surgical and Training Network.”

Two Team Rubicon personnel are deployed to help train local pre-hospital care providers in caring for sick and injured patients as well as building and managing an efficient pre-hospital care system, in the wake of the Ebola epidemic. 

Support our efforts at teamrubiconusa.org/donate or learn what it takes to serve on the international response team. 

  • Maurice Upian


    First of all, I really hope everything’s fine for your members in Fort McMurray, Alberta

    My name is David Dufresne, I am a documentary director. The National Film Board has now asked me to come back in Fort McMurray this week. As a consecution of my previous work on that city, and also for a new, more classical reportage.

    I will be there from Wednesday night to Saturday night (by road from Edmonton).

    I would very much like to meet and interview some of your volonteers, about your work, your mission, this incredible power of resistance of the inhabitants of Fort McMurray.

    It would really be great. And I would of course adapt to your time availabilities. When could be possible for you ?

    With my best wishes,

    David Dufresne, 514 625 4404

  • Badge303FD

    Being recently retired from Ottawa Fire Services (On. CA), I watched as my son in law (YYC Firefighter) got deployed to Fort McMurray in the crux of the fire storm to help his brother (YMM Firefighter) who has more than paid his dues. I want to thank Team Rubicon for tasking Alberta search & rescue for additional help as it gave me the open door to respond from my new home in Southern Alberta.. Just awaiting flight instructions & TR# but anxious to do my part ~Loyal to my duty~ Semper Vigilans.