Meet Kim Brooks, Marine Corps Veteran, Proudly She Served Portrait Participant and Volunteer for the Team Rubicon organization. Kim is our guest blogger this week highlighting the Team Rubicon organization and her path to becoming a volunteer. We are thrilled that Kim is part of Proudly She Served!
Team Rubicon is (TR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides all services free of charge. It adheres to the FEMA National Incident Management System (NIMS) and was founded in 2010 by two hard charging Devil Dogs in response to the Haiti earthquake. It's a great way to contribute back to our communities by volunteering for Disaster Relief both nationally and internationally when the need arises.
Team Rubicon gives its new volunteer members "Grey Shirts' to signify membership. Potential volunteer candidates complete an application and online courses and submit a background check. Once these items are completed, the candidate will be reviewed and then if selected, the new member will receive the coveted "Grey Shirt" and are considered to be part of the Tribe. It's a given that Team Rubicon has its own corps values that every team member must abide by at all times.
(Important Note, you don't have to be a Veteran to join Team Rubicon. Members include veterans and active-duty military as well as medical and law enforcement and "Kick-ass Civilians"!)
Once a new team member receives a grey shirt, the next steps to qualify as "deployable" include more online courses and verification of COVID vaccinations. Different roles within TR require additional online training. For example, if a team member would like to participate in cutting down trees in a disaster area, they would have to complete the "Saw" class. I recently finished a “Site Survey” class which prepares team members to go into an area and be the first ones onsite to reach out to the community requiring assistance. Once we arrive at an area requiring assistance, we conduct "cold calls" which involves introducing ourselves to community members and let them know that we are here for them and also let them know what services we can provide free of charge. Team Rubicon also offers leadership courses also which are invaluable in pursuing different leadership opportunities within the organization. TR values every team member and all jobs are equally important.
Once we put boots on ground in a disaster area, we provide a variety of services including debris management, which includes, Muck and Gut, Debris Removal (Push to the curb), chainsaw operations, heavy equipment operations, assist homeowners with collection of sentimental items. TR also provides expedient home repairs, which could include roof tarping and window boarding. TR also assists with Hazard mitigation by chainsaw operations and sandbagging. If a member is unable to contribute in strenuous work, they can assist by doing Site Surveys, Disaster Mapping & Work Order management, Spontaneous Volunteer Management, Remote support and Incident Management and Forward Operating Base (FOB) support.
I have only been with TR since early November 2021. It is something that I have wanted to do for a few years and I am thrilled for the opportunity. I enjoy volunteering and being around my fellow Vets. Organizations like TR is a perfect opportunity for veterans to continue serving and take advantage of the skills we learned in the military. Before joining TR, I volunteered for “Rebuilding Alexandria” but due to COVID I had to quit and I am grateful for this opportunity to continue to serve.
Recently, Team Rubicon helped NOVA RAFT (Resettling Afghan Families Together), a non-profit group in Northern Virginia, set up their 150th home as part of Operation Enduring Eagle. TR Greyshirts moved a couch, chairs, side tables, rugs, pots, pans and other kitchen supplies – and even a few games and stuffed animals – into an apartment for an Afghan family. The family, a married couple with three young children, were originally evacuated to Qatar, then spent some time at Fort Dix before relocating to Northern Virginia earlier this year. Natalie Perdue, one of the co-founders of NOVA Raft, was effusive in her thanks for Team Rubicon’s continuing service. “You are an infusion of good help,” she said. “You guys come, and you get the job done. I can’t thank you enough.” This was just one of the homes the Greyshirts helped to set up.
TR members are built to serve, something to note, with the crisis in Ukraine fresh on everyone's minds, TR medical teams are currently providing patient care in Western Ukraine and Hungary.
Team Rubicon is always looking for volunteers to help and serve communities and facilities in need. If interested, check out the Team Rubicon website