A group of volunteers from Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization, cleared up fallen trees on a private property in Topsham. Topsham Fire and Rescue Department

A group of volunteers with Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization, were in Topsham over the weekend clearing debris and downed trees at a residential property.

The team of nearly 20 volunteers called the Greyshirts removed downed and damaged trees at local veteran Dan Pollock’s property on 60 Meadow Road in Topsham.

The debris were left behind by the microburst that struck the region on Sept. 6. A powerful line of storms brought down numerous trees throughout the area and caused damage to some houses.

“This particular response from the Team Rubicon is normally executed for disaster areas, but they deemed it worthy to carry out the operations at this property due to the safety and financial strain of clearing so many trees,” said Town Manager Derek Scrapchansky.

Scarpachansky added there was no damage to the home on the property, but large trees created a dangerous situation for the homeowner as trees came down and many were leaning and being held up by other weakened trees.

The Topsham Fire and Rescue Department hosted the volunteers for three days.

“We set a bunk room up in our training room following the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for COVID-19,” said Topsham Deputy Fire Chief Gerry Pineau. “We also assisted with their meals.”

Pineau said the volunteers carried out the clean-up activity on over one acre of land in the property owner’s backyard.

The volunteers used this site as a training site for their next appointment, said Pineau.

About 75% of Team Rubicon members are military veterans. The organization’s volunteers respond to natural disasters and help families return to their homes as soon as possible.

The organization offers veterans a chance to continue their service by helping those affected by disasters. Since its inception following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Team Rubicon has responded to over 250 disasters, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, according to the organization’s website.

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