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Veterans volunteer for Hurricane Matthew victims

Posted November 10

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— Former military members have joined Team Rubicon, a volunteer organization made up of mostly military veterans, as well as first responders and some civilians, that is working to provide disaster relief in Goldsboro and other areas affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Volunteers were established on Oct. 30 and have since contributed over 4,000 hours in the first week of operations, saving the state over $110,000 in disaster relief expenses.

“I know each of us is swollen up with pride, just being able to impact that homeowner,” said Stephanie West, a veteran volunteer.

Around 100 volunteers will be working in Goldsboro until Nov. 21 and expect to clean out 150 houses. Of all the flood-affected areas of the state, the organization selected Goldsboro because of the community’s military connection.

“It’s the comradery, the teamwork, people working together doing hard, dirty work and doing good things for other folks,” said Jim Leckinger, Marine Corp veteran and volunteer.

Organizers said the program also helps veterans have a sense of purpose since entering the civilian workforce.

“It's amazing to see what we can do when we come together as a community,” veteran volunteer Raswneet Bain said. “To know the skills we acquired while in the military, to know there's this opportunity to use those skills as a civilian to help out the community, what more could you want?”

“We arrive with hope. We arrive with free labor, ”Nicole Morales, a Team Rubicon organizer said.

For some of the veterans, the hard work offers a sense of salvation.

“PTSD is something I deal with every day, doing projects like this with like-minded veterans, we heal each other and are always there for each other, it's great,” West said

Volunteer work includes clearing out flood-ravaged homes, hauling out debris and starting the process of repairing lives and communities.

Anybody interested in receiving free assistance with removal of flood-damaged items can contact Team Rubicon Disaster Response at 800- 451-1954 or visit www.teamrubiconusa.org.

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