Special team organizes volunteer tornado relief response

by: Rachel Stockman Updated:

ADAIRSVILLE, Ga. - When a disaster strikes, volunteers come by the thousands, and the tornado in Bartow County was no exception.

"There is no lack of resources, lack of people who want to help during a disaster. It is really how do you organize it in a way that makes it efficient and effective," said Jake Wood, the co-founder of Team Rubicon.

His group was brought on by local leaders in Bartow County to help coordinate the disaster relief.

"I said if these guys can fight for our country, I trust them to fight for this city, and what a team ya'll sent us," said Joyce Coomer, who is running the operations shelter at the Church of God in Adairsville.

Wood, a former marine, co-founded Team Rubicon, three years ago, after tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The organization utilizes cutting edge cloud-based software to pinpoint the most at-need areas. Palantir, the software system provider, modeled the program after technology used by the Department of Defense to hunt down terrorists during intelligence operations.

"It allows us to go out, collect information with mobile devices, and allows us to geo-tag them and then it instantly uploads to a cloud based software program," Wood said.

That information can be overlaid with other public demographic information like age, and income.

"You can overlay that with the damage, and you can say okay these are the people we need to help first," Wood said.

The organization deploys military veterans to help analyze the data, but also help re-build.

Volunteers for the organization have traveled the world, from Haiti to Hurricane Sandy, aiding in relief efforts.

Bartow County is only the second time that the organization has implemented the new technology.

Local leaders said because of Team Rubicon they've been able to do weeks of work in just days through the coordinated efforts.

"Today we will be 100 percent clear of the rubbish in three days' time," said Joy Coomer, who is also the pastor's wife and a local volunteer.

"I live in Adairsville and I've really been wanting to do something and didn't know what to do, they said we have a team and a vest," said volunteer Pam Ryan.



Channel 2 Action News

Delivered To Your Inbox