Team of Veterans Brings Relief to Rockaway

By Jonathan Vigliotti
|  Monday, Nov 12, 2012  |  Updated 3:48 PM EDT
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Team of Veterans Brings Relief to Rockaway

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Before FEMA and the American Red Cross came to the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, a group called Team Rubicon was already on the ground helping residents struggling after Sandy.

  Rubicon, a not for profit organization comprised of veterans from all over the country, has brought hope to residents of Rockaway as groups go door to door checking in on people and helping them rebuild their homes.
 
"They don't know me, they just want to help, it's very, very heart warming," said Rockaway resident Jennifer Meisner, whom Rubicon has helped repair the damage to her home.
 
At a makeshift home base in a parking lot at Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 124th Street, Rubicon welcomes the displaced along with volunteers they then dispatch to the front lines.
 
"What we try to do is just utilize our skills and talents here and our resources, and make the most of what we can," said Rubicon co-founder Matt Pelak.
 
An Iraq War veteran and full-time Poughkeepsie firefighter, Pelak helped start Rubicon while aiding earthquake victims in Haiti. Sandy is his biggest effort to date.
 
"The veterans are here to serve, whether that be overseas or home," Pelak said. "We couldn't possibly think of a better way to celebrate Veterans Day than to be with our brother and sister veterans out here. Americans helping Americans after a disaster, that's what it's all about."

Meisner's home is one of 120 Rubicon has reached so far, marked by the American flags they've placed outside of each one, a symbol of the sacrifices they've made and the new foundations they now build.

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