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Group training Omaha-area workers to rebuild in hurricane-affected areas

Six training sites also help local families
Posted at 6:53 PM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 19:53:59-04

Rebuilding efforts are expected to continue for years after the devastating hurricane and flooding in Texas and Florida.

Team Rubicon, a nonprofit group of mostly first-responders and veterans who volunteer to do disaster relief, is leading the charge out of Omaha towards helping victims who have lost their homes.

Their work today is not only helping a future Omaha family, it is also serving as a training exercise for teams being sent to Houston.

“We're using these volunteer groups to assist us in fully gutting these homes, and then we'll rebuild them from scratch,” said Mark Coffin of Habitat For Humanity.

"We'll be doing what's called 'muck outs' when we're in Texas, where we actually come in and we remove anything that's been damaged by the flood,” he said. "They're learning how to do that here in a controlled environment so that when they get to the disaster area, they'll feel comfortable and confident in their skills."

The Salvation Army also came by with food and water.

"This is a good example of exactly what our mobile feeding kitchens are doing down in Houston and Florida right now,” said Joel Arthur, director of disaster services.

This weekend, the group is practicing on six homes in this neighborhood, preparing not only their tools, but their hearts as well.

“We walk in with that understanding of, you know what, this was really hard for you. This affected you very deeply, so I'm here to help you. Tell me how I can help you,” incident commander Amanda Stricker said.

The group from Omaha will be leaving at the end of the month. Team Rubicon usually sends around 100 volunteers at a time, but due to the amount of damage from Hurricane Harvey, they are planning to send more than 400 workers.