The Mountain Times

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Musings on Tropical Storm Irene

Two days after the Tropical Storm Irene did her damage, and at the height of the activity in the "war room" (aka the classroom of the Killington Fire and Rescue department), I was walking from my position in the war room to the lunchroom, (aka the firehouse kitchen.) Just then the veteran TV reporter and correspondent Wyatt Andrews came running up the steep stairs with his camera man in tow. I was amazed and taken aback to see someone in our firehouse who I watched on the national television news. Wyatt put his hand out to shake mine and sincerely asked "how are you all doing here during this terrible disaster in Killington?"

Wyatt had been flown into our Killington island by chartered helicopter. I realized at that point that our situation here is going worldwide! I told Wyatt that just about everyone in Killington who could help in any way was doing just that, and we are organized and taking care of whatever problem came up and those needs were addressed dutifully and efficiently.

Our emergency phone lines at the firehouse were ringing constantly with residents and visitors calling to volunteer their help, or to ask questions about fulfilling their needs. Local restaurants and stores were donating sandwiches, beverages and desserts for the myriad of volunteers in the war room. People who needed such necessities as prescriptions, or special foods for their animals were carefully taken care of by volunteers. A free community food shelf was established and manned by resident volunteers.
During the height of the storm the pagers of the volunteers of the fire department were toning out frequently, and we responded day and night to help people who were in imminent danger from the flooding water.

When our home loses power our generator starts up, so when electricity to the town was out we provided some necessities of life to people who were in dire straits. My husband is a helicopter pilot, and when the weather was right he flew people in and out of Killington to Burlington Airport to catch flights, to access medical treatments, and he picked up people in Rutland who had to get here and flew them to Killington. He flew me around to take aerial photos of the damage which were published in The Mountain Times, and subsequently put online and on Facebook to show the world that we were indeed an island, no way in or out.

Living on a mountain in Vermont, you don't imagine that you'll experience the wrath of hurricanes, tropical storms, and severe floods. Snowstorms, Nor'easters and throngs of tourists driving very slowly along our roadways to see the gorgeous fall foliage were the things we would be concerned about, not floods tearing up roads and pushing houses over the brink to collapse.
On August 28, 2011 the State of Vermont was hit with the worst tropical rainstorm in 75 years. The Killington community rose to meet this disaster head-on, and we know from this experience that we can depend on the members of our community to meet just about any challenge we face in the future.

Tagged: hurricane irene, reflections, killington