The storms that blew through Lexington on March 3 are nearly unforgettable. Nearly 50,000 homes and businesses were without power, some for nearly a week. Roads were blocked, traffic lights were out, and the damage to trees, buildings, and other structures totaled in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For some, the damage was unthinkable. Limited resources for some, living on a fixed income for others, or other limitations, made clean-up on private property insurmountable.
As part of its mission, Lexington Emergency Management and LexCall 311 began taking stock of people who needed assistance. With many volunteer groups stretched to the limit, help was hard to find, especially help from people with strong backs, a willingness to work, and the ability to use a chainsaw competently.
Contact was made with Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization whose members were instrumental in the response and clean-up after the western Kentucky tornadoes and the eastern Kentucky flooding. The request was made for Lexington.
Team Rubicon members from across the United States gathered at their incident command post in Winchester on June 18, 2023. From there, they fanned out through Lexington, using a list compiled by Lexington Emergency Management from the March 4 storm. By Thursday, the teams completed clean-up for more than a dozen homeowners. They took down trees, cut up limbs and branches, removed debris, and moved the piles so that city crews could dispose of them on their regular pick-up days.
“We’re grateful for the cooperation and assistance that the Team Rubicon members have provided the residents of Lexington,” said Patricia Dugger, Lexington’s Emergency Management Director. “Without their assistance, many of these folks wouldn’t be able to move these large trees and get their lives back to normal. Now, they can move forward without stepping around huge fallen trees.”
About Team Rubicon: Team Rubicon serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service by leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises. Founded following the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the organization has grown to over 140,000 volunteers across the United States and has launched over 800 domestically and internationally operations. Visit www.teamrubiconusa.org for more information.