The Norman Transcript

Local news

June 27, 2013

Veterans find relief helping Moore tornado victims, cleanup

NORMAN — For the city of Moore, it’s free tornado relief. For almost 400 U.S. military veterans, it’s an opportunity to put their training to use and continue helping people.

Made up mostly of military veterans, Team Rubicon volunteers arrived in Moore within 24 hours after the May 20 tornado, said Erica Chomsky, Team Rubicon public information officer. Shortly more than a month later, volunteers have performed more than 3,000 damage assessments and worked on nearly 400 homes.

Temporarily based in the Home Depot parking lot in Moore, Team Rubicon volunteers have come from all over the country to demolish 45 homes, remove heavy debris from more than 70 properties, mitigate damage on more than 50 homes and clear 300 acres of debris from Orr Family Farm.

Team Rubicon, headquartered in Los Angeles, was formed after a group of veterans traveled to Haiti to perform earthquake relief in 2010, Chomsky said. Since then, the nonprofit has grown and provided disaster relief all over the world.

When Cal Verdin retired after serving 20 years in the Army, he found difficulty and frustration relating to people who lack the level of discipline he acquired in the military.

He found relief working with fellow military veterans and serving his country once again 15 months ago when he joined Team Rubicon. He has now served 30 days as incident commander for the team’s “Operation: Starting Gun,” providing tornado relief in Moore.

Veterans have trouble adapting to life after the military because they lose the camaraderie and sense of initiative they adopt while they’re serving, Verdin said.

“All they know is that brotherhood they’ve established and that focused mission,” he said. “When they get out, they don’t have that. When they come back to their families and their friends back home, they don’t understand that.”

Many veterans feel the need to continue giving in some capacity, Verdin said. Veterans can fill that void by serving communities devastated by disaster.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Nova Pettigrew Music community bands together to raise money for 2-year-old’s battle with rare form of cancer

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then ...

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Coaches Luncheon Mixon question off-limits at coaches luncheon

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived Wednesday at Journey Church....

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mixon will not participate in practice

    Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today. Freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there. The school announced the decision Wednesday night....

    July 31, 2014

  • Sales tax-free weekend set to begin this weekend

    When stores open Friday morning, shoppers may be waiting. Oklahoma’s annual sales tax holiday is slated to run this weekend with the special exemption beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ending at midnight on Sunday....

    July 31, 2014

  • Deputies cleared, return to work

    Two deputies involved in a deadly shooting earlier this month are expected to return to work today after being cleared by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office. “They (the Sheriff’s Office) gave me their investigation, I ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Randall Lee Sherrill, 34, possession of juvenile pornography · Dewey Leon Kinsey, 37, possession of controlled dangerous ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Tuesday: · 12:14 a.m. burglary report, 3000 block of Pheasant Run Road · 5:58 a.m. larceny report, 3900 block of Journey Parkway · 6:52 a.m. larceny report, 2600 block of ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Candle ruled as cause of house fire

    Slaughterville Fire Department extinguished a structure fire seconds after responding to the call around 2:50 p.m. Wednesday at 10701 Maguire Road....

    July 31, 2014

  • Sam Noble museum welcomes Oklahoma Storytellers

    From Sept. 19-21, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History visitors can share their museum experiences with StoryCorps, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving and sharing stories of people from all ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Nova Pettigrew Deli plans benefit Thursday night for young cancer patient

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then crawling.
    Pettigrew had never heard of RMS, a rare form of cancer that affects nerves and has hampered Nova’s ability to move, but almost immediately, when doctors at OU Children’s Hospital started intense rounds of chemo, he quit his job to be by his daughter’s side.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo