Thursday, September 1, 2011

Question of the Day #1,040

The little Vermont village where my mother lives was devastated by Hurricane Irene. It sits in the middle of the White River Junction and all the surrounding bridges were destroyed. Roads were washed out. Homes blew over. Coffins rose from the saturated earth. Tennis courts were picked up and dropped down hundreds of feet of away.

Telephones, water and electricity have been out for days. The town normally doesn't get cell service. People have to hike to mountaintops to get a signal.

So to communicate and plan, meetings are being held at 1:00 in the church each day.

A few days ago, the National Guard air-dropped prepared meals and water. The market and local restaurants have also been providing free food to community members. And when an army of electrical technicians and doctors arrived from Canada, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas and other states, the townspeople cheered them on.

Together, the villagers are building footbridges over swollen rivers, setting up a makeshift medical facility and clearing out storm-ravaged homes.

It may take months for roads to be repaired, bridges to be built and for life to get back to normal. But the people in that tiny town will do it together.

How have you seen tragedy unite people?



  1. Wow. That's awful. Honestly, despite all the media coverage, I had no idea the storm damage was that severe. Glad to hear people are banding together to dig themselves out!

    Out here, I guess I'd have to say it was heartening to see how cooperative people were with each other as we all crawled away in 3 mph freeway traffic toward points north during the San Diego wildfires a few years ago.

  2. Oh Suzanne. I am so sorry :-( Sending you and your mom lots of love.

    Very close to my home, there was a devastating fire a few months ago that almost eradicated an entire town. There were several displays of generosity, but the one that stands out for me is the initiative by a local author to rebuild the library with books (and labour) from Canadian authors. It was heartwarming to see the Tweets and emails circulating.

  3. Wow. Thank goodness for the kindness of others. I also didn't realize the complete devastation. Especially in Vermont! Good luck to your mom and her town in the recovery and rebuilding!

  4. I gather your mother is all right...? I've heard stories about how the people of Vermont are pulling together and doing what needs to be done. After hurricane Marilyn devastated the Virgin Islands (4 out of 5 buildings were damaged or destroyed) people helped each other. They had to, there was no where to go, no one else to turn to. My sister was out of power for 4 months, and lived in a house without a roof for almost three years before she could get the money to rebuild. But it didn't stop her, or anyone else in a similar situation from living, going to work, and surviving.

    It seems to be what we humans do just about the best.

  5. Oh no. What can wee do to help? What amazing strength born from such a tragedy.

    Well, I saw power cords running from house to house as neighbors shared their generators, local restaurants offered free meals, businesses opened their doors for command centers and shelters, local schools & health clubs welcomed people to take showers. Neighborhoods without power were pulling out their grills for hurricane BBQs while kids were riding down their streets in kayaks. People are making the best out of the situation!

  6. Oh! I hope your mom is doing okay. It's scary that they're so isolated by the damage. And it's amazing what people will do to help one another in a crisis.
    I spent a wonderful vacation in Vermont some years ago. I noticed that where I was staying around Killington and Woodstock was hit hard by Irene. It makes me so sad about all the damage and lost covered bridges. I really enjoyed the raptor nature center near there, too.

  7. Wow...sorry to hear this...several friends of mine are still without electricity as well....ALL the bridges washed out??? That's not a good thing...perhaps its time your mom visited the beach house...hours of power up in that joint!

  8. TY, I think it IS time to visit the beach house :)
    Update! We R on line. We did get electricity in some parts of the valley 3 hours ago, but not everyone. Phone is sketchy too. But!!
    All of the above is true.
    The kindness of people makes me tear up
    The caravans as they arrived, makes me tear up
    The people on the sides of the main road cheering, makes me tear up.
    Yes there is pattern here.
    I thanked the crew of a big black helicopter taht landed on the school grounds this afternoon and that made me tear up.
    I have never seen anything like this before on the calamity side or the response side.
    How long does it take to drive from Louisiana?
    Good Lord these folks are here!
    Gotta Love the US of A
    The real problem now is getting the washed out impassable roads (50% of the roads) ready for winter plowing. Now that is sccary too! One step at a time.
    love to all of you

  9. Yikes, that is awful. We are thinking of E!! Sounds much worse than NJ which has been horrible too, with lots of friends & colleagues still without power, roads still flooded, trees down all over. But VT is MUCH worse and now I will count my blessings. Thankfully we are alive to blog about it!

    The best example of tragedy uniting people was when I was in NYC on & after 9/11. I've never witnessed anything like it and doubt I ever will again. I saw the good side of humanity during that period of my life. It was the saddest time in my life but also the most hopeful when looking at all the people rallying together.

  10. That's terrible! This spring a town not far from me was destroyed by a tornado. So many people have united to rebuild it. It's sad to hear the stories of those who died, but it's heartwarming to see people come together.

  11. How awful for them. I hope the clean up isn't made worse by winter storms.


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