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Volunteers urgently needed for tornado relief

Posted: May 23, 2014 - 3:26pm

While many Americans are making Memorial Day plans for lakes, barbeques or parades, dozens of Team Rubicon volunteers will continue tornado clean-up efforts in Faulkner County Arkansas.

For the members of the veteran-led disaster relief organization, there’s no other place they’d rather be—but they urgently need more volunteers to join them on Memorial Day.

“Memorial Day is about remembering the ultimate sacrifices made by others,” said Chad Reynolds, a veteran of the Army and Navy. “What better way to honor and carry forward their spirit than to serve alongside a veteran this Monday.”

A resident of Conway, Ark., Reynolds has led Team Rubicon’s efforts, dubbed Operation: Rising Eagle, since an EF-4 tornado devastated communities like Vilonia and Mayflower, April 27. There, the nonprofit is managing volunteers, clearing and removing debris, and making expedient home repairs.

While thousands of volunteers have graciously helped in the cleanup efforts, there has been a steady decline in numbers as each day passes, and attention fades. Anyone within driving distance of Conway is encouraged to help.

“It’s been nearly a month, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Reynolds. “We’re hopeful that others will follow our lead and join us this weekend to help residents on their paths to recovery.”

Volunteers are asked to arrive at the Home Depot in Conway, 500 Elsinger Boulevard, at 8 a.m. Monday. They will receive instruction from, and work alongside, Team Rubicon members until 2 p.m. For more information call (469) 301-1865.

Tools will be provided by Team Rubicon, and its partner ToolBank Disaster Services; however, volunteers should have sturdy footwear, pants, and gloves.

Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Beyond disaster relief, Team Rubicon helps veterans find a renewed sense of purpose—vital as many return to civilian life after more than a decade of war.

The nonprofit was founded in the wake of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake by Jake Wood and William McNulty, both Marine veterans. It has grown from eight to 16,000 members with nearly 60 operations under its belt, including Haiti, Superstorm Sandy, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

For those unable to volunteer, Team Rubicon is accepting financial contributions for its efforts. To learn more about Team Rubicon’s mission, or to become a supporter, visit www.teamrubiconusa.org 

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