The volunteer Veterans and responders of Team Rubicon are spread out along the Southeastern coast shoveling muck, clearing debris, and providing a much-needed source of relief for residents impacted by Hurricane Matthew that battered coastal cities like Savannah, Georgia and St. Augustine, Florida and flooded inland areas as the storm rode up the coast.

Matthew made official U.S. landfall in South Carolina on Oct. 8. Team Rubicon coordinated with local partners and emergency management agencies while reconnaissance teams were sent in to assess the damage from Florida to Virginia.Image of Amy Blowers helping to demo a damaged house for resconstruction.

Team Rubicon launched five separate operations due to the massive area affected. The only thing left was to name the individual operations: Operation Wolfsnare in Virginia Beach, Virginia; Operation Pete’s Sake in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Operation Spanish Moss in Port Wentworth, Georgia; Operation Loggerhead in Bunnell, Florida; and Operation Seymour Action in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Army Veteran Bob “Doc” Pries deployed to South Carolina and reflected upon his first days serving others in the wake of severe flooding: “I’m reminded, the things you do for yourself are gone when you’re gone. The things you do for others remain; they’re your legacy. I’m thrilled to be part of Team Rubicon and excited to continue to build a legacy of serving others.”

Floodwaters have been the most damaging agent of this storm. Greyshirts, as they are more commonly known among Team Rubicon’s growing community, have taken on utilizing their individual chainsaw training, heavy equipment capabilities and rigorous muck-out experience. In total, more than 150 members deployed with more en route to North Carolina.

Amy Blowers, her team and the homeowner, whose experience is mentioned at the end of the article.Florida native Amy Blowers survived Matthew’s wrath, but she was more concerned for family and neighbors in the community. Operation Loggerhead was her first deployment with the team. Amy was strike team leader in charge of clearing out a severely damaged property belonging to an 80-year-old resident. She described the empathy her team felt for this elderly man who had no insurance and no options.

“He was completely overwhelmed by the storm,” she said. They toiled, gutted bathrooms, replaced walls, and listen to his jokes for three and a half days. “It was hot, dirty, smelly, nasty and the most rewarding work I have ever done,” Amy said. “Watching his face change from the first moment we met to the day we finished up was a priceless payment.”

As a new member on her first deployment, Amy had a hard-to-place anxiety about volunteering because she was not a Veteran but discovered none of that matters in Team Rubicon, and she was welcomed like anyone else. She described how fellow members refer to themselves as a TRibe, as a family, and said “It isn’t just a cute slogan; they really do mean it.”

Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military Veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. To learn more and get involved, visit

About the author:  This article was submitted to Vantage Point by Patrick O’Neill of Team Rubicon.


Share this story

Published on Nov. 2, 2016

Estimated reading time is 2.6 min.

Views to date: 63


  1. Jettie Evans November 4, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    How can I volunteer for this organization? I’m a veteran and would love to help.

  2. Curtis fortim November 4, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Awsome group of people. They helped me during our tragedy.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • During Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September, the American Red Cross emphasizes the importance of a diverse blood supply to help meet the needs of those with sickle cell disease – the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S.

  • Since its inception in 2006, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has called for people to support the emerging and long-term needs of Veterans, including mental health, caregiver support, food insecurity, and service-connected fertility issues. The initiative, founded after reporter Bob Woodruff was wounded in a roadside bombing in Iraq, has invested more than $85 million in programs that have empowered Veterans, active-duty military and their family members.

  • CaringBridge, a free online tool to communicate health news to family and friends, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.