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Thursday, September 18, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,

Joshua Thomas
Team Rubicon member and US Marine Corps and US Navy Veteran Scott Meyer, of Johnstown, volunteers his time Saturday.

Joshua Thomas
Gabriel Sackett works inside Steve Webber's future Abbott St. home Saturday.

Joshua Thomas
Local volunteer Joe Sweet assists with the Abbott St. building project Saturday.

Joshua Thomas
Abbott St. homeowner Steve Webber measures a future wall during Saturday's construction project.

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Veterans and youth group members help build Abbott St. home

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - Updated: 9:47 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- On Saturday morning, members of Team Rubicon and the RPMs Youth Group, of Delmar, were on hand at Steve Webber's future Abbott St. home, helping to build a house from scratch, cleaning debris and putting up walls and protective sheathing.

Two Team Rubicon members were present early in the morning, and two more were expected that afternoon. Team Rubicon is a national organization comprised of 80 percent veterans, first responders and medical responders who donate their time to various charitable projects.

Team Rubicon was designed specifically for service-members coming back from combat zones who were unable to immediately re-integrate back into the community. Scott Meyer, of Johnstown, was on hand since 8 a.m. voluntarily providing skilled labor. Meyer, a firefighter by day, and a veteran of the US Marine Corps and the US Navy, explained that assisting on such projects provides an "awesome, unbelievable," feeling of accomplishment.

Meyer said, "We had big goals and big missions when we were overseas, and we get out and don't do it anymore. Giving back gives you purpose again."

Viewing devastated Abbott St. properties, Volunteer Organizer Cyndi Tracy explained to RPMs Youth Group members the difference between Fort Plain's flash flooding and the flooding in Schoharie, where many of the youth group members provided volunteer services.

Tracy said of the flood, "The first thing you did was heard it. I'll never forget the sound of that water coming down. I never want to hear it again."

Tracy sent RPMs Youth Group members to a basement on Abbott Street that, as she was informed Thursday, still needed mucking out. The process would be a hard one, she explained. The debris has been subjected to numerous seasons, from intense summer heat to freezing winter temperatures.

Youth Director Beth Gould said that the members, of which 20 were on hand Saturday, ranging in age from 14-18, would do "whatever else needs to be done -- it's something that we try to do whenever there's a need. When Schoharie needed a lot of help, we were out there as much as we could be." 

Some of the group, of which 15 volunteered in Schoharie, with many returning to Fort Plain after having helped in the preliminary stages of flood clean up, actually expressed excitement at the prospect of a potential demolition project Tracy assigned them.

Steve Webber, the property owner whose house was being built on Saturday, was also on hand to assist in the process, as he has been since ground was broken last August. Some surprises at the property have cropped up along the way, Tracy explained, such as an unknown well that had to be filled in before construction could begin.

Currently, Webber and his four-member family are living in a converted garage apartment he owns, their former Abbott St. home having been demolished completely, leaving an empty lot.

Webber said that about 100 volunteers have helped so far at the new property, of the 4,000 that have assisted in Fort Plain to this point, logging 30,000 volunteer hours.

He noted that his friends and family will be visiting this weekend, helping with various tasks, the goal being to move into the home, which has been elevated above the flood plane, prior to June 28, 2014 -- the exact one year anniversary of the flood.

Weber expressed appreciation of everybody who has helped him so far, commenting, "Thank you," stating of the volunteers, "they've been here and they've been awesome. We've had excellent volunteers the whole way."

"I've been so happy to see it going up," said Tracy of Weber's home, stating that it's been primarily her project to assign volunteers there. Tracy explained that all types of volunteers are still needed, including skilled workers. To assist with Fort Plain flood cleanup and restoration, call 705-8695.

Joshua Thomas - The current inside of the future Abbott St. home belonging to Steve Webber.

Joshua Thomas - John Mazzarella III works inside Steve Webber's future home Saturday.

Joshua Thomas - In front of a flood-devastated Abbott St. home, Volunteer Organizer Cyndi Tracy speaks to RPMs Youth Group members about the difference between flooding and flash flooding.

Joshua Thomas - It was just learned Thursday that this Abbott St. home still needs mucking out, which RPMs Youth Group assisted with Saturday.

Joshua Thomas - Steve Webber's future home on Abbott St. now has walls thanks to the work of volunteers.

     

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