Dell's Original Uncoverage Logo by Antonio F. Branco, Comically Incorrect

Monday, December 19, 2011

Irene Recovery Slow But Steady In Vermont

Irene Recovery Slow But Steady In Vermont

“Yup!  The Kids Are “Vermont Strong”, Too!”

By Dell Hill

Readers have been clamoring for an update from the flood-ravaged Barup family in Waterbury, Vermont, and so here it is!  

If you’re just joining us, my niece and her family lost their home and nearly all of their possessions in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene when flood waters reached to within one foot of their ceilings.  I’ve been following their story closely and blogging updates.  You can click here,  here, and here to read my previous posts.

Yup!  The Kids Are “Vermont Strong”, Too!

Now at first glance I’m sure your reaction might be something like “Huh?  Looks like someone sleeping on a mattress without a bed and some unopened boxes of appliances nearby”.  And you would be correct!

But, before you decide that’s “just awful”, consider the fact that for over a hundred days prior to this picture being taken (late Sunday evening), that young lady had no home to sleep in, no mattress to sleep on, no ultra-warm blanket over her and the kitchen appliances were some distant dream.  In fact, she slept with family friends or relatives who were not devastated by Tropical Storm Irene and has continued to get to school every day, despite the adverse conditions.

On this night, she was - for the first time - sleeping in her own bedroom in her new home, constructed by a small army of workers in a race against the ravages of a Vermont winter.  A race that is seemingly won!  And, as her mother suggested - she’s “loving life”.

Obviously, building an entire new home from scratch is one thing; furnishing it with creature comforts is another.  But, even that issue is slowly but surely being addressed and resolved.  A new bedroom set looms in the immediate future - not only for my great niece, but for her brother and parents, as well.

And take note of the very special blanket that covers her.  That was just one of many hand-made gifts donated by a reader of this blog and a follower of one of my other favorite things - the Decorah, Iowa family of Eagles.  

Last year, I served as a chat-room moderator (GoldenEagle4444) under the sponsorship of the Raptor Resource Project and several of the regular visitors to that chat have taken it upon themselves to lend a hand to my families flood-related catastrophe.  A number of Facebook readers have done likewise.  Assistance with financial contributions of nearly a thousand dollars, as well as the extremely meaningful, hand-made gifts like the blanket you see in this picture have been warmly received.

“Santa’s Helper” made a special delivery Sunday afternoon and Tina reports that the latest donations will be used to offset the cost of flooring in her new home.  Before long, that concrete floor will be covered with very appealing laminated wood flooring, thanks to all of you who have pitched in to help.

Spirits remain high, despite the fatigue, and every single family member and volunteer remains steadfastly dedicated to the conclusion of this project.  And the very next time disaster strikes, guess who will be first in line to offer their help?

If you said “Tina, Charlie, Brent and Brooke” you’d be absolutely right.


  1. One thing I forgot to mention in this post: Tina will also be using the cash donations to purchase the highest grade of hard-wired smoke detectors for the house. You know when your talking about installing smoke detectors that things are going well! :) - DRH

  2. We lost a lot in the flooding as far as tools, "stuff" and had damage to our heating system, well and wash & dryer, but the water did not get into our living space. We did not get a dime from FEMA or the state or our homeowners or flood "insurance" carriers. (they only thing they insure is the bank carrying your mortgage, and you pay for it). Help, both muscle and financial came from our nieghbors, our friends, our church and our community. We never saw a functionary from the state, and the one from FEMA was more interested in inventorying our surviving goods, drawing a floor plan, and inspecting "The quaility" of our front door installation. I will leave it to you to figure out why. No one We have heard about got ANY FEMA funds, except for a Killington Demo-rat big wig who' driveway got "affected" to the tune of several thousand dollars of tax payer bailout.

    The Salvation army and the Red Cross were they only orginazations to show up with help. God bless them both, And they will get my support.

    I have been reading an account of the 1927 flood, and the same places were damaged, and the same "Can do" Vermonter spirit is still alive in the Green Mountains.

    Message is, if you wait for the "government" to come to your rescue, use the waiting time to dig your grave. You'll need it.

  3. ...And, at 5:45 PM Monday, I received confirmation on the donation of a great twin size bed - rails, box springs, the whole nine yards so that young lady will have a brand new bed very soon!

  4. Just so you know; Toaster is not in the same area as my niece. In fact, he and his family are quite a ways from Waterbury, but Irene came "right up the gut" from the Massachusetts border to the Canadian border and inflicted heavy damage in many areas, and most all of that damage was uninsured. When you consider the fact that the last major flood in Vermont occurred in 1927, you get a better understanding of why. High water in the Spring is normal, but what these folks experienced comes along about once a century and turned many lives up-side-down.

    And I totally agree with his comment concerning churches, neighbors, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Even people we've never met or known. Without their care and concern...Well, I don't even like to think about it.