Amongst the organizations that have been providing volunteer help at the Kalaeloa Heritage Park is a national disaster relief organization by the name of Team Rubicon. They have been to the park several times over the past few months to help with heavy work. Work that most of us struggle with. It is interesting that they have time to share with us considering the level of national disaster relief request they get. They are amongst our most dedicated partners.
Let me start with sharing with you where their name comes from which will help you understand who they are. Rubicon is the name of a river in Europe. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon at the head of his legions and marched on Rome, it marked a point of no return. The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has since survived in reference to any group committing itself to a risky course of action. On January 17th, 2010, despite government and large aid organization’s advice not to proceed, Team Rubicon members crossed the Artibonite River separating the Dominican Republic and Haiti, carrying crucial gear and medical supplies to the people of Port-au-Prince. Once across, they were irrevocably committed to their task. Hence the name: Team Rubicon.
Team Rubicon’s primary mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible.
Once again on Sunday, September 25 members of Team Rubicon, Americorps (another national disaster relief organization), members of the Wounded Warriors and members from the Kapolei Veterans Center came to the park to provide us with some volunteer help cutting and removing kiawe by carrying them out of the interpretive area of the park.
Amongst those Team Rubicon leaders who have played a major role in their volunteer participation at the Kalaeloa Heritage Park are Hawaii State Administrator Jerome Deniz, Lonnie Martin Hawaii State Logistics Coordinator, Christina “Tippi” Cogen State Engagement Coordinator and Stephen Carrol of the Team Rubicon National Operations Center in Grand Prairie, Texas.
In closing, interesting though I think this also speaks of us who are helping to build the heritage park. In the beginning there were those government agencies that did not recommend accepting conveyance of the heritage park from the Navy due to the challenging preservation effort and the cost to make it happen. When the 77 acres of the Kalaeloa Heritage Park was conveyed to the Hawaii Community Development Authority and the Ahahui Siwila Hawaii ‘O Kapolei agreed to assist HCDA it was a river crossed with no turning back. This unseen river that passes beneath the park may well be the “Rubicon River”.