LEANDER, Texas - Sunday marks two weeks since snow started falling in Central Texas, marking the beginning of a historic winter storm, and many homeowners and renters are still dealing with damages.
"Trees just falling down," said Leander resident Reginald Hodges. "Thank God they didn't hit the house."
Hodges has lived in his home surrounded by cedar trees for more than 30 years. He said he’s never had an experience like this.
He had electricity throughout the storm but lost water. He couldn’t leave his home for about a week because the road leading out of his neighborhood wasn’t cleared. "The police department came up in a jeep and brought me some water," he said.
His water is back and the snow has since melted, which is why members of volunteer organization Team Rubicon called Sunday’s operation "Leander Thaw." They came to Leander to help homeowners like Hodges with post-storm recovery.
"Unfortunately Texas has its fair share of disasters - tornadoes, hurricanes, windstorms, flooding," said Oscar Arauco, incident commander with Team Rubicon. "We sign up to do this."
The organization is made up of about 70% former military members and 30% civilians freely giving of their time when crisis calls.
"Disaster relief has always been a passion of mine and my church," said Kevin Phillips, who joined the organization in October 2020. "We like to help people on their worst day."
For Edward Strauss, he feels like his experience in the army contributed greatly to the work he does with Team Rubicon. "I tried to work after I left the military but I thought, I got to do something bigger and better," he said. "So I started volunteering, and that was my calling."
Hodges had nothing but thankfulness for the volunteers on Sunday, along with each individual that played a part in helping him weather the storm.
"I’d like to thank the City of Leander for helping me through the storm," he said. " I especially want to thank the city councilmember Troy Hill for responding and calling me through the ice storm and letting me know why my water was cut off."
As of Sunday afternoon, this group of Team Rubicon volunteers had worked at close to ten sites over a three-day period.
To learn more about Team Rubicon or volunteer, click here.