In the wake of hurricane Florence, Bradford Products’ Wilmington, NC facility became the perfect camp for a group of real-life hero’s – Team Rubicon.
After relocating Bradford Products headquarters to a larger facility in Leland in 2015, our 55,000 sq.ft. shop in Wilmington acted as a storage facility of sorts. On any given day you could walk in and find a variety pool/spa parts, cars, boats, holiday decorations, furniture, and even a go-cart or two, tucked into the facility for safe-keeping. Over the last several months, however, the contents of the old shop has changed. The facility has undergone a massive remodel at the hands of Tyler Broduer and Rick Almeter with plans reopen as a second production site for Bradford. Fresh paint, new flooring, and new machinery breathed a second life into the shop. But instead of production of Bradford’s trademark stainless steel spas, as the threat of hurricane Florence became a tangible nightmare, the vehicles once stored at the Wilmington shop returned and doubled. Cars, trucks, jet-skis, boats, and ATV’s rolled in as the Brodeur’s opened the garage doors for their family, friends and employees to safely stow their vehicles during the storm.
As Florence moved out of town and the vehicles left the shop, the Brodeur family once again opened the garage doors. The space, however, didn’t fill with welders and stainless steel as planned, the Brodeur’s are stowing something much more important……TEAM RUBICON!
A hundred American Red Cross cots line the shop floor in tidy rows, littered with camouflage packs. Someone strings up a makeshift clothesline. A tarp by the front door fills with wet, dirty boots as the members of Team Rubicon return from the devastation that surrounds Wilmington. These men and women have left their own homes to salvage ours. They are smiling but tired, wet, and hungry. And we, and our community, are grateful.
Team Rubicon is a non-profit group made up of mostly military veterans and first responders. They provide immediate relief to those impacted by natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Team Rubicon works tirelessly around the US and the world to restore calm in the midst of chaos and they do it free of charge. You don’t have to be former military to join them, but about 70% of their members are. Many of the rest are firefighters, medical professionals, law enforcement, and teachers.
We served them dinner and listened to them talk about the people and places they encountered as they started work on our area. The work they do is hard, dirty and largely stinky, but it changes people’s lives. They told us they will be here until the job is done. Many of them will rotate out and head home for couple of weeks before they come back to help again. Bradford’s shop will be home for Team Rubicon as long as they need it. We’re both happy and grateful to have crossed paths with this amazing group of people and though we hope we don’t need them again in our area, we’re honored to be with them for now.
Click here for more information about Team Rubicon.