‘Team Rubicon’ mobilizes veterans to help with humanitarian missions

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Brunswick County woman who is a part of a veteran-led disaster response organization with thousands of volunteers is trying to encourage more veterans in Southeastern North Carolina to get involved.

Team Rubicon serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service by leveraging their skills and experience to help people before, during and after disasters and humanitarian crisis. The volunteers wear t-shirts that say Team Rubicon and they call each other ‘grey shirts.’

“We give a way or path for veterans to find healing through community service,” said Nicole Paulson who is a grey shirt and a U.S. Marine Corps Combat Veteran.

Paulson lives in Leland, NC.

“I’m actually looking to bring Team Rubicon and our efforts to the community and the surrounding communities,” Paulson said.

The organization was founded following the Haiti Earthquake in 2010. Team Rubicon has grown from eight members to more than 140,000 volunteers made up of veterans, first responders and train civilians.

During the pandemic, Team Rubicon launched an initiative called ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors.’

“This is where grey shirts were able to go out into their own communities and assist with food drives and dispersing personal protective equipment,” Paulson said.

Volunteers have also established mobile testing sites and propped up healthcare systems with medical providers.

Recently, Paulson returned from ‘Operation Mission: Lonely Road’ where she assisted in helping to set up a mobile vaccination site in Nevada (see slide show below).

They have deployed to more than 800 operations in response to disasters and humanitarian crisis including most recently Hurricanes Laura, Sally and Delta as well as the derecho in the Midwest.

Volunteers muck out houses, clear downed trees and aid in debris management after disaster at no cost to homeowners or impacted communities.

“It has given me and others a sense of purpose and healing to give back to our communities in our respective countries,” Paulson said. “For a lot of us, we’ve never taken our uniforms off and this has given us a safe place to heal and we also work with civilians and local disaster and emergency managers.”

Team Rubicon was the first North American NGO to be verified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an Emergency Medical Team Type 1 (mobile) unit internationally and the 18th Emergency Medical Team in the world.

Click here to watch a documentary about Team Rubicon.

You can support Team Rubicon by donating or volunteering. For donations, go to teamrubiconusa.org/give or text the word RUBICON to 20222. If you’re not an at-risk individual, you can sign up as a volunteer to deploy during a local operation. You can also email Nicole Paulson at nmw9308@gmail.com.

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