Volunteers respond to St. Clair clean-up efforts

“Operation Buckman Grit was a success,” said Curtis Peters, District Coordinator for the Southern Minnesota area, for Team Rubicon.

“The military training that our volunteer members received allowed our organization to work dynamically with our Catholic United Response counterpart, International Orthodox Christian Charities and the Traveling Angels of Minnesota,” said Peters.

According to the Team Rubicon website and their “What It Takes to Deploy Domestically” section, “Team Rubicon operates and deploys at the regional level. Emergency management is most effectively executed at the local level and we are expanding our capabilities to match this concept. When an operation initiates, the Regional Membership and Field Operations teams lead the personnel mobilization process aided by technology solutions such as Roll Call, Google Apps, and Everbridge. These teams send out the call, vet available personnel, and dispatch members. Selection is based strictly on objective criteria: Proximity, availability, and administrative readiness.”

“We were able to remove over 300 cubic yards of debris from the residents’ homes and saved the homeowners approximately $18,000 with the services we provided. Our partnership with the Minnesota volunteer organizations, active in disaster response, allowed us to move swiftly and provide assistance to the community,” said Peters.

Team Rubicon had 18 members deployed to St. Clair, which comprised 374 hours of work. The members were gathered from the Midwest region, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.
The team responded to 23 work orders, or homeowner requests for assistance. Before arriving at St. Clair, the group was stationed in Waseca, aiding in their cleanup efforts.

This is where the name of the operation was established from. “George Buckman was a resident of Waseca, buried there, and one of the first to enlist in the civil war,” said Curtis Peters.

The group tasks ranged from removing appliances from residences, complete demolition of basements, removal of carpet and other personal items. The city provided 12 dumpsters that were frequently being emptied to the landfill and returned for more debris.

While Team Rubicon was aiding homeowners with debris removal and basement demolition, community residents and other volunteers were removing the used and unused sandbags to be disposed of. Used sandbags were hauled to the landfill while unused sandbags were taken back to the city highway department, where the sandbags were emptied and set aside for future use.

The community took a break on Sunday.

“Our volunteers are exhausted!” read St. Clair’s Facebook page on Sunday morning. “A big, big thank you to everyone who has helped us through the last 10 days! We’ll post a notice when we tackle the remaining sandbags. Thank you!”

Deborah McCollum, a Public Works employee who was manning the lift station that was lost during the flood last week, mentioned the lift was operable but was facing malfunctions. As a result, some drains were backed up.

On Thursday, Sept. 29, Mayor Marvin More posted a public message on the cities Facebook page. “We are proud to say that the city’s wastewater facility has been returned to operation, and, although ongoing repairs will continue for some time, all residential water/sewer usage restrictions have been lifted. Residents can flush toilets and use drains.”

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