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Volunteering From the Heart with Team Rubicon

Explorer C
On Sunday, April 27, an EF-4 tornado descended on Faulkner County, Ark., and left a 26-mile path of destruction in its wake, destroying more than 400 homes and taking the lives of 15 residents. That’s when the call went out to Team Rubicon, an organization dedicated to using veterans’ unique skillsets in disaster relief efforts to assist those in need. Team Rubicon pioneered the concept of veteran-focused disaster response and the simple truth that natural disasters present many of the same problems that confront troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: unstable populations, limited resources, horrific sights, sounds, and smells. The skills cultivated on those same battlefields—emergency medicine, risk assessment and mitigation, teamwork, and decisive leadership—are invaluable in disaster zones. Team Rubicon unites the skills and experience of military veterans and first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. In Faulkner County, Team Rubicon members arrived within hours and went to work assessing damage, setting up a command center and preparing for a month-long recovery operation. Working with local authorities and emergency management agencies, they were tasked with coordinating the efforts of 5,000+ volunteers throughout the weekend of May 3 to assist with debris removal in the areas impacted by the tornado. Team Rubicon will remain with “boots on the ground” throughout May, managing chainsaw operations, debris removal, and expedient home repair as well as continuing to coordinate community volunteers. Chartiable1At Southwest, Safety and preparedness is of the utmost importance. We support organizations like Team Rubicon to help the communities we serve be more prepared and lend our help in times of need due to natural disasters. Southwest first became involved with Team Rubicon in 2013, helping provide travel to deploy volunteers to respond to the devastating floods in Denver.  A national partnership was formed after the Moore, Okla. tornado response. As former military myself, it was humbling to work beside these real American heroes and see them in action.   I’m proud of the support Southwest provides in helping transport Team Rubicon members to disaster sites around the country, and proud of my fellow Veterans for using skills learned to protect to serve others.