Archive for Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Team Rubicon’s military veterans stand ready to help community

Team Rubicon members Tyler Tannahill and Tom Hudson search debris in Joplin, Mo., after a tornado devastated the town.

Team Rubicon members Tyler Tannahill and Tom Hudson search debris in Joplin, Mo., after a tornado devastated the town.

November 9, 2011


After nearly five years in the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, serving through five deployments in active war zones, former Sgt. Howard “Ford” Sypher stands ready to assemble an all-volunteer force to assist in domestic times of need.

Especially right here at home.

Sypher, who grew up in Lawrence and now attends Kansas University, told Douglas County Commissioners on Wednesday that veterans volunteering through Team Rubicon would be willing to handle tasks ranging from construction of homes through Habitat for Humanity to searching through rubble for survivors of tornadoes, fires, earthquakes or anything else.

As Veterans Day approaches, he said, the call to civic duty remains strong among highly-skilled troops returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and all corners of the world.

“This group of veterans is not interested in having a beer in a pool hall and sharing political discourse,” said Sypher, director of a Team Rubicon region that covers Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. “They want to do something. They want to get to serving.”

Commissioners welcomed Sypher’s can-do attitude and encouraged him to meet with leaders of area law-enforcement and emergency-response agencies to determine just how Team Rubicon’s veterans could be especially effective during disaster situations.

Douglas County Undersherriff Steve Hornberger agreed with Sypher that highly trained personnel with specific skills could prove particularly helpful during the first 24, 48 or 72 hours of a disaster.

“When something happens,” Hornberger said, “you never seem to have enough people.”

Team Rubicon — named after a stream at the edge of ancient Rome, one crossed by Caesar and considered the “point of no return” — is a national organization that previously has been focused on sending disaster-response teams into sites of major disasters, such as tornado-stricken areas of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Joplin, Mo.; one of the organization’s co-founders is William McNulty, a KU graduate and former Marine.

The regional approach — the regional office opens Nov. 21 in Kansas City, Mo. — is intended to focus veterans’ volunteer efforts even closer to home, with duties expanding into general volunteer work. That way, Sypher said, participating veterans stay active, use their skills and help the community at the same time.

The involvement helps veterans reconnect with their communities.

“We have volunteer resources to help,” Sypher said, “and it helps us.”


Lawrence_Pilot 6 years, 2 months ago

I don't get it...we already have such an organization. It's called the National Guard.

homechanger 6 years, 2 months ago

Your not going to find to many squared away Army Rangers in the guard.

AppleHappy 6 years, 2 months ago

After a look at their website, it seems Team Rubicon utilizes veterans skills to hit the ground and be active prior to the national guard. They "bridge the gap" between the disaster and "traditional disaster response" like the national guard, red cross, and so on. What a great concept.

homechanger 6 years, 2 months ago

Glad to know they are ready and capable. Thanks for yor service Rubicon.

overthemoon 6 years, 2 months ago

I heard one of these guys on Up to Date with Steve Kraske on KCUR this morning. A very interesting discussion about the transition of these soldiers from combat to disaster response. The guy (whose name I don't recall) was very articulate and passionate about what they're doing...and how they are helping disaster victims as well as veterans put their lives back together.

Well worth looking for the podcast at

agrabass 6 years, 2 months ago

I am so thankful for this concept & execution. As a flight attendant I took 747's full of these boys to the Middle East. I also asked passengers to remain seated when we landed (on domestic flights) while we allowed one of our fallen soliders to be removed by military escort to be reunited with his/her family. Neither was easy. So thank you again vets & active personnel for all you have done, will do,& continental to do to keep us safe.

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