LIVINGSTON — Help continues to pour into Montana from across the country as communities like Livingston rebuild from the floods. Team Rubicon is one of those groups making a big difference by aiding Livingston residents with their damaged homes.
“It caught everybody off guard, it really did. Nobody was expecting it,” said Livingston resident Wesley Baker.
Baker’s mother’s house was hit by the historic floods, and water damaged everything from walls to appliances.
“She needs the help, so I mean there’s a lot of other people that lost too,” said Baker.
That’s where the Texas-based Team Rubicon comes in.
“We came to assist the homeowners that need help getting their homes cleaned out,” said Team Rubicon volunteer Jim Leckinger.
Leckinger has been a part of Team Rubicon for six years. The organization was founded in 2010 after a group of veterans traveled to Haiti to provide relief to residents affected by the earthquake.
“The skills (that) veterans and first responders... gain while being in the military or in fire and police, EMS etc., really works well in the disaster environment. And those skills are applicable,” said Leckinger.
Now everyday civilians are also a part of the group, but the mission remains the same. Team Rubicon aids those affected by disasters.
Help is focused on the most vulnerable and those without insurance. Their services are free.
“Everybody’s a volunteer, nobody gets paid, everyone’s here on their own time,” said Leckinger.
That help is a godsend for folks like Kathy Felix, who didn’t have flood insurance.
“The water came up to about two and a half to three feet. When we came in, there was mud everywhere,” Felix said.
Felix’s cabin has been cleared of debris and drywall thanks to Team Rubicon.
“They’ve done an amazing job at our cabin just getting us to the point where the sheetrock has been removed, and we can now dry it out and spray if need be and start rebuilding,” said Felix.
She couldn’t be more grateful and for volunteers like Leckinger, that’s what it’s all about.
“Feels really good. And I’ve done quite a bit of it and the interaction with the homeowners is quite special. The gratitude is amazing,” said Leckinger.
Now Felix can focus on rebuilding instead of the damage that was done to her cabin.
“It just gives us a place to start from which we didn’t have before,” said Felix.