Team Rubicon Volunteers Return To Utah After Hurricane Clean-Up Work
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Team Rubicon volunteers from Utah have returned from a weeklong assignment to the Carolinas to help with cleanup efforts from Hurricane Florence.
Team Rubicon Utah State Administrator Bob Toth said 15 volunteers from Utah went to various places in the Carolinas that were flooded when the hurricane hit in September.
Toth said they were surprised by how little cleanup work had been done before they arrived.
“You would go into somebody’s house and it had been sitting like that for three weeks. They hadn’t even had a chance to get in there to do anything. That was the thing that really blew me away,” he said.
Toth spent a week in Lumberton, North Carolina. Teams helped clear homes out and do demolition work. He said without the volunteers the work might have cost people thousands of dollars.
A lot of the people, Toth said, had no flood insurance and not a lot of money to pay out of pocket.
“This area, the average annual income is $29,000,” he said.
Even through all that had happened to them, Toth said people tried to keep their spirits up. He mentioned a 76-year-old woman who said, “Well, it took two hurricanes for me to finally realize that I need to whittle my stuff down.”
“The resiliency of the human spirit is always what gets me,” Toth said.
As Toth settles in back to daily life here in Utah, he still thinks about the people back in North Carolina and whomever it is they will help next.
“You’re always waiting for the next one,” Toth said. “Once you kind of get that bug, you want to keep going.”
Toth said Team Rubicon volunteers were getting called out more frequently thanks to extreme weather. He would like to see more volunteers in Utah as they anticipate more assignments.
“We’ve seen lots of burn scars. We know that there’s going to be some flood mitigation down the road. There’s definitely going to be some fire mitigation that we’re going to get involved with,” he said.
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