Businesses are not the only ones bracing for rising water. People all along the Big Sioux River are preparing for the worst as they hope for the best. In Sioux Falls, a nonprofit organization is helping city leaders get ready.
Sherman Park in Sioux Falls is the city’s distribution spot for sandbags for residents. Helping make sure this machine is well-oiled and humming along is Team Rubicon.
“We’re kind of helping lead the operation and manage all these spontaneous volunteers that want to come and volunteer their time to help fill some sandbags,“ said Korey Schroeder, state administrator for South Dakota for Team Rubicon.
Schroeder describes it as “an international disaster response organization.“ 20 people with the organization worked in Sioux Falls on Friday. Overall, the organization began work Thursday and will continue through Sunday.
“Military veterans, even some active military that are able to get time off and help deploy with us, National Guard members, first responders, whether that’s firefighters, EMS, dispatch, police officers, anyone that is a first responder,“ Schroeder said.
“It’s been really, really fun to sit at this table and talk with the volunteers and interact with them,” Team Rubicon volunteer Staci Beseke said. “Such big hearts and all want to help and do things. We’ve had people come and get sandbags, and then say, ‘You know what, I want to help others.’“
Schroeder has seen what a disaster can do.
“From a personal experience, I deployed down to Hurricane Harvey,” Schroeder said. “South Texas is my home, and I got to see first-hand damage of what it did to my families, my friends, and neighbors’ homes. And just seeing the community and seeing Team Rubicon down there respond and help with that, it was really eye-opening, and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I want to do this, I want to help other communities on their worst days.’“
“If I can get out of bed in the morning and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to do something good for somebody else,’ that’s what life’s all about,“ Beseke said.
Schroeder says Team Rubicon has responded to 13 disasters in the United States this year, and 320 since it was launched in 2010.