COLORADO, USA — A massive tornado ripped through the middle of the U.S. Friday night, killing dozens in its path.
In Kentucky alone, 22 were confirmed dead by Saturday afternoon. The death toll across five states includes six people in Illinois, four in Tennessee, two in Arkansas, and two in Missouri.
The tornado carved a track that could rival the longest on record. Now, Colorado volunteers are preparing to help with cleanup.
Team Rubicon, a national veteran-based disaster response organization, has been dispatched to Benton, Kentucky and Mayfield, Kentucky to clear roadways. More volunteers will be arriving on Monday.
As of Sunday, no one from Colorado has been deployed to the Midwest or South, but veterans like Jordon Daniel are preparing to help out.
"It is amazing how much a place hit by a tornado looks pretty similar to a combat zone," Daniel said.
Team Rubicon is used to responding to natural disasters like wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes. The nonprofit combines the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to deploy emergency response teams to communities impacted by disasters.
In Kentucky, Team Rubicon could expand operations to remove fallen or hazardous trees and to remove debris.
In addition to responding to natural disasters, teams in Colorado focus on prevention by helping communities with fire mitigation efforts year-round. It is a job that makes them prepared to respond out of state to disasters like this tornado.
"Debris management is a big piece of what we are able to do as an organization," Daniel said. "Here in Colorado we have a large and robust chainsaw training program. We are pretty much the hotbed for it."
Daniel said states lean on volunteers in Colorado when it comes to tree and debris removal after disasters because of its robust program.
"If there is damage or devastation to roofs we will help get that debris managed," he said.
Based on the extent of the damage across such a wide area, Team Rubicon in Colorado believes a number of volunteers from the state will be deployed to help. They are just waiting on that call.
"I feel like I am at my best when I am serving others," Daniel said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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