today is Jul 03, 2022

Abbotsford, B.C. -

They were forced off their farm by the floods on Sumas Prairie.

When they returned home, they discovered thieves had been there first.

“They have no heart,” said Ryan Sandhu, who believes the only way thieves could have accessed the property earlier was by boat.

The crooks damaged a door and broke into the home, grabbing what they could carry including the watches Sandhu’s children had bought him over the years as gifts for Father’s Day. They also took jewelry passed on from Sandhu’s mom to his wife and even bracelets his children hand-made with their grandmother.

“Those bracelets are worth maybe a dollar, but to me it’s a million,” he explained.

The Sandhus live in one of the hardest his areas of Sumas Prairie.

Their vegetable crops were ruined during the floods that left their property under six feet of water and shattered the glass in the greenhouses.

Their new home suffered significant flood damage. His parents’ home next door is in even worse shape, with waterlines several feet high along the wall showing where the water came to.

“It hurt. It’s hard to see,” said an emotional Sandhu.

He says insurance won’t cover any of it.

The family felt lost.

“We didn’t know where to go. We didn’t know what to do. (Team Rubicon Canada) came. They just showed up and said, ‘You need some help?’”

Did they ever.

Team Rubicon Canada is made up of retired military members highly trained in disaster response, as well as first responders who offer their expertise at no charge. The organization is funded by donations.

“We specialize in helping people that are under-insured or uninsured or that have been denied insurance such as in this case because of being in a flood plain,” said Team Rubicon’s Anthony Toderian.

“We have a strike team on the ground….yesterday we started taking out the drywall and insulation.”

“So many people have never experienced a disaster, experienced a flood. We have,” said Toderian, who also thanked the community of Chilliwack, which has supported the team’s work by providing free lodging and food.

For Sandhu, Team Rubicon showed up when they needed help the most.

Sandhu says his family is grateful because Team Rubicon not only brought their expertise, but gave the family back the hope they had lost.

“They gave us life again,” he said.