Team Rubicon helps with storm cleanup in Sheboygan County

In Sheboygan County, Team Rubicon, an international nonprofit, is helping residents clean up after recent powerful storms destroyed property.

The Alpha Team has been working hard on helping Steve Samson and wife Penny Jesse remove trees from their home and out of their driveway. 

The organization is a mixture of veteran and civilian volunteers. Together, more than 20 volunteers give disaster relief to those in need. Samson says he'd never heard of Team Rubicon until Sunday.

"I am extremely overwhelmed by just the idea and I had no idea that they were going to be here this fast," said Samson. 

A friend close to the family created a GoFundMe page to make donations for all those who've helped Samson and Jesse. 

"We're just so blessed to have people like that and good people to help us," says Jesse. 

Alpha team leader Eric Mayranen is from Northern Minnesota. He's a Vietnam War Veteran with more than 45 years of log cutting experience. He loves using his skills and knowledge to volunteer with Team Rubicon.  

"It feels good as any operation has in the past. I've been on a number of them and every one has been a good experience," he said.

Team Rubicon created a makeshift headquarters at Orange Cross Ambulance. Officials say they provide 911 emergency response to Sheboygan County but rarely get the chance to directly support disaster relief efforts.  They're hosting Team Rubicon at the Plymouth station for the week and are impressed with all the work the organization has done. 

"The caliber of the veterans and emergency personnel working for their organization has been impressive," said Executive Director Daniel Althaus. "It is an exceptional organization and Orange Cross is proud to support their mission rebuilding the community right here at home."

Team Rubicon's Incident Commander Nick Checchia, is a U.S. Military Veteran from Tennessee. He says their mission is simple yet powerful.  

"We're there on their worst day and we're there to make it better," said Checchia. 

He adds that while the biggest benefit most people immediately see is to the residents the volunteers help,  it's the volunteer veterans who gain a lot as well. For those newly transitioning into civilian life, this non-profit helps connect them with communities, as well a, give veterans a new sense of purpose. 

For Samson and Jesse, Team Rubicon has just been a godsend and they look forward to being able to put their life back together.  

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