Organizations team up to practice disaster preparedness

Published: Aug. 3, 2018 at 4:52 PM CDT
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Homes being renovated by Habitat for Humanity on 30th and Corby were put to good use on Friday.

Habitat for Humanity is working with a veteran organization called Team Rubicon. They have around 80,000 members across the country who go into disaster zones.

It was a two-for-one deal. Habitat for Humanity gets legwork and the volunteers get practice for what it takes working in a disaster zone.

"This is all about building relationships. The relationships you need when a disaster happens. So, through the efforts of Habitat for Humanity and Team Rubicon, Salvation Army and Operation BBQ Relief and other non-profits, should something happen here and Omaha, Douglas and Sarpy emergency managers know who they can call upon and who can deploy with us should a disaster strike," explained Mark Coffin who is the Veteran Outreach Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity Omaha.

Some 40 Team Rubicon members from several states are in Omaha and will be doing rehab work for the next three days.

Staci Parelman lives in Kansas City but made Omaha her home for the weekend.

"The ability to give back to a community through hard work speaks volumes of what we can do, whether it's a disaster after a tornado or a typhoon overseas, you have the ability to give back and ask for nothing in return. It's really heartwarming," Parelman said.

While a majority of Team Rubicon's members are veterans, not everyone has to be one to volunteer.

Many of the team members have been in Marshalltown to help the tornado clean-up.

Operation BBQ Relief and the Salvation Army practiced as well by feeding volunteers. Operation BBQ Relief can serve more than 30,000 meals a day during a catastrophe. Right now that's what their big trucks are doing for those caught in the middle of the Northern California wildfires.