On Talk of the Bay, Tuesday, August 4, 2021 Christine Barrington interviewed leadership members of Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service and leverage their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises.
Founded following the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Team Rubicon can list some impressive accomplishments that have accrued in the 11 years since their inception. Having created a network of over 140,000 volunteers made up of veterans, first responders and committed civilians, they have deployed over 800 operations nationally and internationally and are a trusted NGO by the World Health Organization.
Recently, they brought their magic to our region in order to assist the Boulder Creek Fire Protection District and the Pacific Skyline Boulder Creek Camp in implementing the district’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The Boulder Creek initiative coined “Operation Banana Slug” took place during the last week in July and involved some 35 Team Rubicon volunteers in creating shaded fuel breaks, felling and bucking dead and dying trees in the backcountry around the camp, and reducing fuel along the evacuation routes for the Boulder Creek area.
If you feel inspired to serve or wish to support Team Rubicon via donations, check out their website: Team Rubicon
This interview featured:
Michael Gorham is deputy director of operations for Team Rubicon’s West Branch, which covers 14 states. He served as an Army officer, deploying as an infantry platoon leader in Afghanistan and as a company commander in Iraq. Since leaving active-duty, he remains in the Army reserves, serving as a Lieutenant Colonel supporting disaster response operations throughout the state of California.
Robert Madrid is from Modesto and previously served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. As Team Rubicon’s Operations Associate for the Northern California area, his role is to oversee the planning and execution of operations from the Central Valley to California’s northern border. His recent activities have focused on wildfire mitigation and COVID-19 testing and medical response.
Preston Barker served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a rifleman in the infantry and a motor transport line chief. He volunteers at the Vacaville Fire Protection District in Solano County as a firefighter and EMT, rope rescue technician, and swiftwater rescue technician. A volunteer with Team Rubicon since 2016, he served as the logistics section chief at the Federal Medical Station in Santa Clara, CA in support of Team Rubicon’s nationwide medical response to COVID-19 and continues to work in fire mitigation operations.
Morgan Rains has been a volunteer with Team Rubicon for just over 4 years. She has deployed on 27 operations domestically and internationally. She has been a part of responses to multiple hurricanes including Harvey and Dorian, wildfire response and mitigation efforts throughout Northern California, mobile COVID testing throughout California, and mudslides in Hawaii. A qualified sawyer, she leads chainsaw strike teams for fire mitigation and other operations and serves as a chainsaw instructor.