Veteran-Led Disaster Response Establishes Operation Barren Heart in SWM

A unit founded by a couple of battle-hardened Marines will advance into the remaining flood waters and flood zones of Berrien County in the coming days to launch Operation Barren Heart — their drive to support residents impacted by recent flooding across Michigan’s Great Southwest.

Team Rubicon is a veteran-led disaster response organization that will conduct damage assessments, muckout operations, and debris removal across the region at no charge to those affected. They are able to do so thanks to the generosity of donors who make their organization possible.

Team Rubicon employs a strong communications infrastructure supported by cutting-edge technological solutions. Their volunteers efficiently and effectively respond to natural disasters and help get stricken families back into their homes as soon as possible.

Residents seeking assistance are urged to call United Way’s 211. The Michigan 211 Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7-days a week, and has a translation service with more than 180 languages available. 211 covers 100-percent of Michigan’s population and can be reached by landline, cell phone or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).

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Berrien County is also asking impacted residents to continue to send in their damage reports by using the online submittal form found on both the County of Berrien website at and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office website at or by calling 1-800-815-5485, which will be staffed during the week of March 5th through March 9th (this week) during normal business hours.

Beyond disaster relief, Team Rubicon helps veterans find a renewed sense of purpose, which is vital as many veterans return to civilian life after their time in the military.

Team Rubicon was founded in 2010 as a non-profit organization by U.S. Marine Corps veterans Jake Wood and William McNulty following the massive earthquake in Haiti that year. It has grown from eight to more than 70,000 volunteers with over 230 operations under its belt.

Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. They offer veterans a chance to continue their service by helping and empowering those afflicted by disasters, and also themselves. Programs and services are made possible by the support of individual donors, corporate partners, and the dedication of volunteers across the country. To join or support Team Rubicon’s mission, you can visit