The Mountain Times

°F Wed, April 16, 2014

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Irene Reflections

Joy and I were separated during Irene, she got stuck at the Restaurant and I was stranded at home with the kids in North Sherburne (or is it North Killington?) Our experiences were much different because of our separation.

The homestead was unscathed, but our quiet development was sliced into sections by large craters in the road from overrun culverts and bridges. The two ways out of our neighborhood were both gone, one is still not open to date.  

By 2 p.m. the kids and myself put on rain jackets and went out to see what had happened, as soon as we went outside we heard loud thumps and cracks coming from the valley streams rolling giant rocks down the rivers and streams. Our driveway had a few areas of erosion, but nothing to stop us from coming and going; the town roads, however, were all but destroyed, with more pavement gone than remaining in some sections. The roads became crowded with other folks coming out and doing the same thing as us.

What really struck me as amazing was the fact that everyone just seemed to accept what had happened and instantly started the recovery process one stick at a time.

One stick might seem meaningless from what was in front of us, but it set a tone for me and most that we were all going to have to chip in one way or another. So we started going to work almost instantly one neighborhood at a time.

Joy and Sneaky worked all night through the storm, we held on to power until 9 p.m., so they were privy to all the mayhem and destruction through customer accounts. Joys feelings of how bad it was were confirmed the next morning when she tried to come home and realized it would not be by car. Each route was met with a dead end and a massive path of destruction. By early morning the day after Irene, crews were organizing and getting a plan together to get started-amazing if you think about it.

And so it went, people just jumped in and helped out however they could, whether it was answering phones, making sandwiches or running a chainsaw clearing debris. The recovery went a lot like that, people and crews worked tirelessly day and night, and we got power back, town-by-town and then roads the same way, Mendon, then Killington, then Pittsfield and so on out to Rochester and Hancock.

The amount of work was incredible, but I never sensed anyone who showed any signs of pity, which still amazes me today.
I like where I live more today than before Irene, and feel as though petty disagreements and issues seem to be working themselves out through dialogue, not conflict anymore. Our leadership has been strong and we need that to continue because we still have a lot of work to be done.

Tagged: hurricane irene, Reflections