In January 2010, an earthquake struck Haiti causing massive destruction and devastation. Troubled by the catastrophic scenes in Port-au-Prince and the lack of proper aid, two former U.S. Marines, Jake Wood and William McNulty, decided to act.
Gathering supplies and volunteers, a small group of eight veterans, first responders, and medical professionals deployed to Haiti in the days following the earthquake. Crossing over the Artibonite River, the natural border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the group began calling themselves “Team Rubicon.”
When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River at the head of his legions and marched on Rome in 49 B.C., it marked a point of no return. The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has since become synonymous with anyone committing to a risky course of action.
By crossing their own Rubicon in Haiti, the team acknowledged they were irrevocably committed to the task of helping those in need.
In Haiti, the group focused on populations often overlooked or under-served by traditional aid organizations. By applying medical and leadership skills honed by years of service in the military, Team Rubicon provided aid to thousands of survivors of the earthquake.
From this initial operation, a larger organization grew, one committed to helping under-served communities impacted by disasters. Team Rubicon serves those communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises.
Today, Los Angeles-based Team Rubicon is in the South Delta to serve those who have been impacted by the flood. Not waiting to be told what to do, they began by asking people what they needed. Among those they asked were Susan and Steve French on Eagle Lake.
The French’s moved to Eagle Lake just after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and have been threatened by the weather a couple of times, but nothing like this. The entire lower level of their home on Eagle Lake was destroyed by the flood water and waves.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Steve French. “They knocked on our door and asked if we needed any help. They are wonderful.”
Team Rubicon, with some help from the AmeriCorp team, made short work of the damage. Within a couple of hours, the bottom floor was gutted and down to studs.
Their neighbors across the street, Linda and Mike Meister, were also approached by Team Rubicon. Within a couple of hours, their property was cleaned and all the debris from the lower area moved to the street for pickup.
“Save that!” Linda Meister said as the AmeriCorp crew was moving her “alligator board” to the trash pile. “They work so fast and they are so kind,” Meister said.
If you need help, Team Rubicon wants to hear from you. Contact them through their website, teamrubiconusa.org, or call 310-640-8787.