Team Rubicon Communicates Disaster Relief From Front Lines
They've fought in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and now thousands of military veterans are contributing to disaster relief efforts throughout the city thanks to an organization that deploys them to disaster zones. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.
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They fought on the front lines, now hundreds of military veterans are in the Rockaways determined to aid the area devastated by sandy.
"We are a disaster relief organization. We work domestically and internationally. We're made up primarily of vets from Iraq and Afghanistan," said Ford Sypher of Team Rubicon.
Team Rubicon's focus is to deploy military and medical professionals to humanitarian crisis situations. Member and Vietnam War veteran Bruce Mcinness was nearly brought to tears talking about their efforts.
"I've never seen anything like this," said Mcinness. "It's a very moving experience for any of us to be involved in an effort that has so much good will and volunteerism attached to it."
The team's site on Beach 124th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard offers water, food and supplies to veteran volunteers like Iraq war veteran Daniel Gorman, who has gone door to door to help residents.
"We were going out and digging sand out of peoples' houses, de-watering basements doing a lot of debris removal, taking things that were destroyed out of their houses," Gorman said.
Parked on the Team Rubicon's site is the veterans green bus, which is an environmentally-friendly mobile disaster response unit. The bus attracted the curiosity of former president Bill Clinton who came to check it out Sunday during his foundation's Day of Action for New York.
It was a welcomed visit for the volunteer veterans who believe helping the community also helps them.
"Team Rubicon really facilitated my transfer by helping me in ensuring that I had a community, I had a mission and I had a purpose coming out," Sypher said.
The veterans green bus -- a bio sustainable vehicle -- not only picked up volunteers from Chicago but also transported equipment and also houses a communications system that helped volunteers on the ground communicate with each other, especially the moments after sandy hit when there was no cell phone signals available.