Months-long recovery efforts come to completion across multiple counties, where in the first week alone, volunteers cleared 298 obstructions, moved over 490 dump truck loads of debris and restored essential services to thousands of survivors.
Racine, WI – When Hurricane Idalia hit the Big Bend area of Florida and caused extreme damage in areas like Taylor County, veteran-led humanitarian organization Team Rubicon began spinning up a response operation within hours. But they knew it would be a months-long effort that would require a lot of teamwork, and they would need heavy equipment to clear roads, move trees and clean up debris.
CASE Construction Equipment dealers Tidewater Equipment and CASE Power & Equipment of Florida were swift to respond. Both community-focused companies supplied essential equipment including CASE compact loaders equipped with root grapples to help make quick work of clearing trees and opening roadways.
“When CASE put out a request to local dealers for machinery to support recovery efforts, we jumped right into action,” says Kevin Pittman, sales manager for Tidewater Equipment at their location in Live Oak, Florida, near Taylor County. “This disaster was right in our backyard, and the folks impacted by Idalia were our neighbors, family and friends. We wanted to help any way we could, and we were moved by the work Team Rubicon volunteers were doing across southern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.”
CASE and its parent company’s foundation, CNH Industrial Foundation, have been long-time supporters of Team Rubicon and its mission. CASE deploys machinery through its dealer network to numerous disaster response and community service projects across North America, while the Foundation has supported efforts with monetary support. This year, CASE and Team Rubicon also initiated a new operator training program for Greyshirts at two CASE dealers (RPM Machinery and Lawrence Equipment) to prepare volunteers for exactly the kind of work needed in this operation.
“Helping people build communities is what drives CASE in everything we do. That includes rebuilding them when disaster strikes,” says Terry Dolan, vice president, North America, CASE Construction Equipment. “Our dealers in Florida and across North America are always ready to step up to the plate when the need arises. And we’re proud to play a part in the good work Team Rubicon is doing for those impacted by Hurricane Idalia.”
When it comes to responding to disasters, volunteers from the veteran-led nonprofit Team Rubicon are some of the first to arrive. Also known as “Greyshirts,” Team Rubicon volunteers include sawyers and heavy equipment operators who clear trees and debris from roads so emergency crews can access impacted communities.
In Taylor County, the destruction left by the high winds, rain and storm surge from Hurricane Idalia was especially severe. Roads across the county were blocked by trees and other debris while power was out in large portions of the county. After Taylor County’s emergency manager requested help, Team Rubicon, with the help of CASE machinery from Tidewater Equipment and CASE Power & Equipment of Florida, launched its first Idalia response on Sept. 1.
“Our continued partnership with CASE allows Team Rubicon to assist more communities in need before and after disasters strike,” said William Porter, Director of Operations Support for Team Rubicon. “We were able to quickly clear roads within hours of Hurricane Idalia making landfall in Florida and have continued to support the community with CASE machines from Tidewater Equipment Company. The commitment of CASE fuels this work and increases our capacity to assist survivors.”
In just the first week following landfall, volunteers brought their relief operation to completion, clearing 298 obstructions across multiple counties in Florida, moving over 490 dump truck loads of debris, and allowing thousands of survivors to regain access to emergency and essential services. Throughout the operation, which continued for months after the storm’s initial impact, CASE dealers were in it for the long haul, supporting Greyshirts with critical equipment to help get the job done as quickly as possible.
“Despite all the destruction left by Idalia, we felt privileged to be in a position to help with the powerful equipment Team Rubicon needed,” says Jeff Heinemann, Director, CASE Power & Equipment, Florida. “Supporting each other in good times and bad is what we’re all about, and we’re proud to be part of a network at CASE that shares those values.”
To learn more about the ways CASE Construction Equipment and CNH Industrial support Team Rubicon visit Team Rubicon | CASE Construction Equipment (casece.com). To become a Greyshirt volunteer, go to https://teamrubiconusa.org/.