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Monday, November 7, 2011

“Vermont Strong To The Core”

“Vermont Strong To The Core”

Ten Weeks Ago - Devastation / Today - Incredible Progress

By Dell Hill

Ten weeks ago today (11/7/11) Tropical Storm Irene took a sharp turn out of her predicted path and roared up through Western Massachusetts and the entire length of Vermont.  Approximately $1 Billion dollars in damage resulted in Vermont alone!

I’ve written about this event several times because it’s a story about horrible devastation to thousands of people’s homes and personal property, as well as the fact that one of my family members was one of those who “lost everything”.  You can read those posts by clicking here and here.

Today I paid another visit to my niece and her family in Waterbury, Vermont and - very honestly - I’m amazed at what they’ve accomplished.

At the outset, they had no idea where they were going to be sleeping.  They’re home was flooded to within a foot of the ceilings and everything was either gone or totally destroyed.

But then the entire disaster became a challenge of the human spirit.  This is a native Vermont family and they accepted that challenge.  Plans were made, hundreds of phone calls exchanged, meetings with officials were held, permits were obtained and just a short while later the first steps were taken to “Beat Irene To A Pulp”.

Landscaping (to prevent another such disaster) was completed.  A foundation was poured.  They worked with building contractors of one kind or another for hours on end.  They even worked long after dark.

With staging and construction lights burning late into the night, the work goes on.

Plans for a modest 1,400 square foot, three bedroom home were set into motion and, as you can see, great progress is being made.  Time is of the essence because it’s already November and we’ve already seen some early snow.  The building must be closed in before Winter arrives in full force.

And they’re going to do it!  They’re going to have their new home closed in and heated before the end of November.  

As I drove up to the property today I couldn't help but notice the message these young folks want the world to know.

“Vermont Strong To The Core”

Here’s a better view of the front of the house.

These pictures were taken before the windows and doors were totally installed and the roof has since been shingled.

And, speaking of doors, a beautiful new main entry door arrived a few days ago.  Charley and Tina held a brief ceremony as Tina received the “keys to her new home”.

Their hands reflect hundreds of hours of hard work, but this was a special moment for them both.

Irene relief programs - along with private donations - have donated approximately $1,000 toward their effort and they’re extremely grateful to each and every person who has made contributions to help the Vermonters.

They’re tired.  Weary, really.  It has been a long, tough row to hoe, but they know what incredible strides they’ve made over the past ten weeks and they won’t stop until the challenge is won.

It does an old man's heart good.


  1. We had 4 ft of water in our basement an garage. Most of our storage, tools and lawn care gear was drown. The generosity of people in our church and town has been truly stunning. The inertia of the insurance and government has been complete. Not one drop of help and nothing but obstructionism from both of them.

    It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.

    And they ain't over yet.

    "We pay too little attention to the reserve power of the people to take care of themselves. We are too solicitous for government intervention, on the theory, first, that the people themselves are helpless, and second, that the government has superior capacity for action. Often times both of these conclusions are wrong."

    President John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

  2. Thanks for chiming in, Toaster.

    I am absolutely certain that the affected folks in your area are just as determined to overcome this bit of adversity as my family in Waterbury.

    Keep the faith, Bro.