TAMPA, Florida— Curt Harman says he was incredibly proud to serve his country for six years in the Navy. But after leaving the military, the transition back to civilian life wasn’t easy.
“When I got out there was that hole or that gap that a lot of service members feel,” said Harman.
After volunteering with a number of local organizations the Wesley Chapel resident eventually found a group of most veterans called Team Rubicon. The non-profit disaster relief organization utilizes the experience of veterans and retired first responders, deploying them to some of the worst disasters around the world.
“We basically service individuals in a disaster at no cost and help communities heal when an event happens,” said Harman.
One of his biggest missions was close to home assisting communities near Jacksonville as Hurricane Matthew caused major damage along the coast.
“It was anywhere from flooding to debris removal, to chainsaw work,” said Harmon as he flipped through a series of photos showing the devastation.
Harman says Team Rubicon will be there for Tampa Bay should disaster ever strike here. He presented the group’s mission at Tampa’s Emergency Operations Center during a meeting marking the beginning of Hurricane Season.
“Post-disaster, we will take all the help we can get,” said Tampa’s Emergency Management Coordinator Chauncia Willis.
She says the city has volunteers from a variety of organizations lined up should disaster strike, but says Team Rubicon is different. “They have seen disaster first hand and that is critical.”
And while Harmon hopes to never see disaster strike Tampa Bay, he and his fellow veterans say they will be ready insisting having their new mission helps them as much as the communities they serve.
“We have a lot of individuals who would tell you they get more benefit than even the homeowner.”
If you’d like to make a donation or get involved with Team Rubicon, click here.