Saturday morning a group of volunteers from around the region assembled along with Team Rubicon and Umatilla County Emergency Management to provide recovery assistance to a Milton Freewater area family flooded earlier in the week by the
high waters of the North Fork Walla Walla River.
The groups provided help in removing debris, salvaging items and recovering fencing and irrigation components that had been relocated by the fast moving water. Some provided large equipment to move rock into place to help divert future high water.
This is not the first deployment for Team Rubicon, but it is the first time in Umatilla County.
Team Rubicon, an international disaster response nonprofit that unites the skills and experience of military veterans with first responders to deploy emergency
response teams, has deployed resources to disasters such as Hurricanes Maria and Harvey or the wildfires in Sonoma County California.
“I received a phone call from Mike West, Tri‐Cities administrator for the Northwest Region of Team Rubicon shortly after getting reports of the extent of the flood damage to the Afdahl’s property,” said Thomas Roberts, Umatilla County Emergency
Manager. “I had heard of Team Rubicon and their capabilities and knew immediately that we needed to get them in touch with the family.”
From there, an organized recovery response effort was planned. Volunteers from Team Rubicon were assembled along with community members who wanted to help. Roberts was on hand to assist as well.
“While this is the first time Umatilla County has paired with Team Rubicon, we hope to build a robust relationship with the organization for future collaborations that will help us to help those who live and visit Umatilla County and are impacted by disaster,” said Roberts. “I am very thankful to all the Team Rubicon and community volunteers and neighbors who have assisted the Afdahl family.”