There are no fond memories of the destruction wrought by
Tropical Storm Irene; there are still many suffering and waiting
for promised relief and assistance. But we can recall, with pride
and a smile, the many stories of friends, neighbors, and even total
strangers who gave a 110% to help those in need in the immediate
aftermath of that terrible storm.
As soon as the rains stopped, the Vermont National Guard flew in
by helicopter to deliver MREs to the Stockbridge Elementary School.
"MRE" is military-speak for Meals Ready to Eat, though some
veterans might dispute that claim. The Dartmouth Hitchcock medevac
chopper airlifted out some elderly residents who were in
Once everyone in Stockbridge realized the enormity of the
damage, and made sure friends and neighbors were all right,
impromptu meetings, coordinated by Mark Doughty, were held in the
Gaysville Post Office parking lot and people got down to
Willis and Harry Whitaker, Mark Pelletier, Dave Brown, Peter
Steibris, and others devoted endless hours to making roads passable
for emergency vehicles, and former Gaysville residents, Josh and
Michelle Merrill, with the help of the Chittenden Fire Department,
were instrumental in organizing deliveries to the food shelf at the
elementary school. We all pitched in whenever a shipment arrived to
bucket-brigade food and other essentials from the 4-wheel-drive
pickup trucks and into the building.
Jenny Harris made runs to the pharmacy to get prescriptions for
But there were many stranded in nearly inaccessible areas of
town who could not get to the food shelf for emergency supplies. My
stepson, Jason Boyd, organized several people with 4-wheelers to
deliver medicine, diapers, and food to people stuck far up Stony
Brook Road and on the maze of dirt roads that branch off Stony
It only took a few days for the Maine National Guard's 133rd
Engineer Battalion to arrive in a 38-vehicle convoy, and begin the
task of reconstructing roads and bridges. What they accomplished in
a very short time was miraculous.
Residents were forced to organize complex operations on the fly,
and there were uncountable instances of selfless generosity and
outright heroism following Irene that may never be properly
recognized, but those good people know that the recipients of their
kindness will never forget them.