Team Rubicon members set for disaster deployment


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Haven’s Kyle Doyon has stepped away from his button-down business persona for a hard hat and tool belt.

Doyon is part of the local Team Rubicon crew that is taking down 10 buildings to make way for Plaza Roosevelt, the community revitalization project coming to a two block area near Granville and Franklin on the South West side of Grand Rapids.

“We’re able to do a duel role, where we can be here in the community, helping out Habitat, and then also training up our volunteers so that they can go down and serve down in Texas and Florida and where ever else we’re needed,” Doyon said.

In fact, Doyon himself expects his Grand Rapids deployment for Team Rubicon will soon be over.

“I’ll be going down in a couple of weeks,” he said of his expected assignment to help out in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. “I’ll swing a sledge hammer, run chain saws, whatever they need.”

Founded by two Marines in 2010, Team Rubicon volunteers — 70 percent who are military vets while the rest are first responders and regular citizens — go in to areas and do the jobs deemed too dangerous for other aid groups.

“We all talk about the fact that we take home more than we give,” Doyon said of what attracts volunteers to Team Rubicon.

Doyon says gearing up and responding to a disaster is the easy part. Coming home is often more difficult for volunteers.

“Once you finish it, you’re heading home,” he said. “That’s when the kind of post-deployment blues kick in. You’re really wish you were down there helping more, doing more than what you’ve already done.”

The Plaza Roosevelt teardown is also providing local first responders a chance to hone their skills.

One of the buildings Team Rubicon took down was used by Grand Rapids firefighters to practice collapse rescue techniques.