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Team Rubicon helps clear hundreds of downed trees left from Labor Day storm

A microburst ripped through Topsham more than a month ago, knocking down hundreds of trees on Danny Pollock's property. Team Rubicon came in to help

TOPSHAM, Maine — For more than a month, Danny Pollock has had hundreds of downed trees left on his property.

"The property, well it speaks for itself," Pollock said.

He's lived in his Topsham home since 2019, and earlier this year on Labor Day, a storm ripped through his property and left loads of damage behind.

"It was so fast. It was just like a freight train. It was unbelievable the destruction that happened within minutes," he said.

That storm knocked out power for much of Topsham, and a tree even went through the roof of a home across town. Luckily, Pollock was uninjured, but his property was littered with downed trees, including ones blocking his driveway, front door, and taking out power lines leading to his house. 

"It was just too much to handle just for one person," Pollock said.

Pollock said the storm caused a few broken windows to his home and some trees even landed on his roof, however didn't cause major damage. He said another tree came down on a family member's truck that was parked on his property.

According to Pollock, his insurance company was able to help with the damage to his home, but not with the hundreds of trees still laying across his yard and beyond.

After reaching out to the town of Topsham, Maine Emergency Management Agency, and even the Governor's Office, he found a saving grace that could help him clear out all of the trees: Team Rubicon.

"New Englanders normally take care of their own problems and are able to take care of themselves, but this is well beyond anything that I've seen," Joe Giacomantonio, State Administrator for Team Rubicon, said. 

Team Rubicon is a national nonprofit that travels around the country responding to natural disasters and storm damage. Many of the volunteers that help in communities around the country are former first responders and military veterans. Joe Giacomantonio also served as the incident commander for their response in Topsham.

"It was in pure devastation, I mean, we've been to other operations in the southern part of the country that have experienced hurricanes and such like that and seen similar damage," Giacomantonio said. "It was amazing to see that it was condensed on this one small property."

Over the weekend, Team Rubicon had a team of more than a dozen volunteers helping cut down, trim, and clear trees that were brought down in the storm over a month ago. The team spent about 20 hours in total working on the property.

"It's fantastic, it's fantastic. I take my hat off to these guys, they're a great bunch of guys," said Pollock. "I appreciate everything they did."

Team Rubicon has volunteers based around the nation, including here in Maine. 

Giacomantonio says the work done over the weekend was also great training for volunteers looking to become advanced sawyers. He says this will help the non-profit have more folks trained and ready to respond to severe situations around the country and world. 

Learn more about Team Rubicon and how to volunteer or donate by visiting its website.