The blog Blackfive has announced the launch of a collaborative rapid medical response operation of Jesuits and US Marine veterans to quickly get medical personnel and supplies into Port au Prince.
Jake Wood, a remarkable young US Marine military blooger (milblogger) and former University of Wisconsin Badgers football player, has established Team Rubicon for a joint medical relief operation with Jesuits in Port au Prince.
The operation is able to move more swiftly than larger, established aid organizations because it is privately-funded and overcomes three critical blocks in the flow of aid: security, lack of water, and organizational cumbersomeness.
Wood blogged his recent combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan as Badger Jake at Jake's Life, which has now become the home of Team Rubicon. He also served as a volunteer in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
About the impact on him of Haiti's devastating earthquake he says, “My first reaction was, ‘Jake, you're not in the Marines any more, but you have a special set of skills. You would be ashamed of yourself if you didn't try to use them to help people.'
“Security is a critical issue in the aid effort that has not drawn much attention in the mainstream media." Team Rubicon immediately identified the need and are meeting it with veteran volunteers who are "security personnel who can sub as medics and medics who can sub as security personnel."
Wood recruited some of the members of the advance team from posting on Facebook. The advance team consists of another Marine combat veteran, two firemen from Milwaukee, and an interpreter from Haiti, Corinne Joachim-Sanon. She had been studying at the Wharton School of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania when she learned that her home in Haiti had been destroyed.
Team Rubicon will marshal its medical aid convoys in the Dominican Republic and will provide security for them as they move to the Jesuit Volunteer Services compound in Port au Prince, which is reported to have basically collapsed.
The Jesuits have the most essential thing whose lack is hampering all relief efforts: water, which they get from a well on their property. Team Rubicon will establish its base of operations there.
The advance team is due to arrive in Port au Prince on Sunday to assess security and prepare the way for the first convoy of medical supplies and medical personnel from Chicago.
Jesuit Brother Jim Boyton, a former teacher at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, will guide the team to the Jesuit Volunteer Service compound in Port au Prince.
Blackfive writes, “The Jesuits are telling us that they need this medical team NOW.
Brother Boynton stated, “At this point I will have no way to pay the teachers, and our Jesuit community has very little cash on hand, the only real currency now. The other thing is that people are now leaving Port au Prince in droves, and by the accounts, they are headed our way. "
Team Rubicon is a totally privately-funded and volunteer-staffed operation of medical and military professionals working with one of the Church's most effective education and assistance organizations, Jesuit Volunteer Services. With additional funding from private citizens they will be able to do far more and respond much more quickly than larger organizations that are still gearing up.
Since Team Rubicon is working in collaboration with Jesuits, they deserve the support of Catholics everywhere and particularly those who are veterans and those grateful for the service of wonderful young men and women in the military in countries around the world.
Of the name of Team Rubicon, Jake Wood writes, “What's with the name? Simple. The Rubicon was a small stream that separated Gaul (France) and ancient Rome. On January 11th, Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and it marked the point of no return. “This Sunday, January 17th, our 4 man team will cross the Artibonite River, separating the Dominican Republic and Haiti, carrying crucial medicine and supplies to the people of Haiti. Once across, we will be irrevocably committed to our task.”
Our prayers go with Team Rubicon, Jesuits in Port au Prince, and the suffering people of Haiti.
More with video (here)