A Project: In Vermont, After Irene

Photo by Victor Salvo

Tropical Storm Irene spent 24 hours, the last weekend of August, 2011, trying to wipe Vermont off the map and Vermonters are still picking up the pieces. Homes, businesses, roads and bridges were destroyed. Some lives were lost, many others changed forever. In some places, Irene created a nasty, inconvenient mess; in others she left behind unmitigated disaster. Power lines came down and phones went dead, villages were cut in half and towns marooned, but through it all — even at the height of the storm — neighbors and townspeople worked, doing what they could for each other. They are still hard at it.

Photo by Victor Salvo

Most of the more than 150 roads that were closed in the days after Irene are now at least “passable” and many damaged bridges have been replaced or repaired so Vermonters can kind of “get there from here” again. Many small, locally oriented businesses remain closed as they regroup and recover but, as a whole, like they say at the Chamber of Commerce, “Vermont is open for business!”

Photo by Victor Salvo

That’s what Lyman Orton, owner of the Vermont Country Store, told Victor Salvo one day in front of a flooded-out village market, making it clear he thought it was important to let people know Vermont was still here, ready for visitors just like every other year. Victor decided to create a project, inspired by Mr. Orton’s words, documenting the aftermath of Irene in Vermont and set out with his cameras, looking for OPEN signs amidst the destruction while Ken Hall took advantage of the mysterious disappearance of Quill Gordon, commandeering this blog to post the results, along with some commentary along the way.

Victor found much more than OPEN signs in this small, flood-ravaged state. He found hopeful signs, signs of grace, and signs of strength. Vermont’s businesses keep her economy moving but her people make her strong.

Photo by Victor Salvo

From just after the flood crest to the present, Tropical Storm Irene as she appeared on the pages of The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond:

 Video: West River at the Old Mill, Weston, Vermont August 28, 2011

→  After Irene” September 3, 2011

→ “One Week Later …” September 6, 2011

→ “A Collaborative Project, After Irene” September 9, 2011

→ “From the Government, Here to Help” September 13, 2011

→ “They are Jamaica, Vermont. They Will Survive!” September 15, 2011

→ “Bethel, Vermont, Two Weeks after Irene” September 20, 2011

→ “Images of Bethel, Vermont (#1)” September 20, 2011

→ “Images of Bethel, Vermont (#2)” September 21, 2011

→ “Goodness” September 22, 2011

→ “Five Weeks Later” October 4, 2011

{Vermont and her people will bounce back from being ravaged by Irene but other people, in other places, who have been touched by disaster are not so fortunate. Victor Salvo has been working to rebuild a school in Haiti, where a devastating earthquake hit in January of 2010 and recovery has been slow. In addition to the physical labor he has contributed to the cause, Victor has collected images he captured while there into a book, using that book and some of those same photos as incentives for contributions towards the rebuilding of the school. Through the end of September, 2011, Victor is soliciting contributions HERE. Check it out. Watch the video. Contribute.

You can learn more about Victor and see more of his work HERE.}

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