(This is the fifth piece of a collaborative project between Ken Hall and Victor Salvo, documenting the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene in Vermont. It is clear that Vermont and her people will bounce back and thrive, in spite of the recent disaster. Other places, hit with their own disasters, are not so fortunate. Victor has been working hard, raising awareness and money to rebuild a school near the epicenter of last year’s devastating earthquake in Haiti. Please take a look HERE to learn more about Victor’s Haitian project and ways to support it.)
Millions of tons of water moved millions of tons of debris, at a rather fast clip, through Vermont three weeks ago. The people of Vermont (most of them, anyway) picked themselves up as best they could and got to work, cleaning and repairing what they were able and doing whatever was possible for their neighbors and friends. When it became clear that, no matter how spunky Vermonters may be, local and state resources had been utterly overwhelmed, a disaster was declared and help came from near and far.
FEMA employees from Florida, Washington (State and DC) and many other places were sent by the Federal Government to assist. Red Cross volunteers came from Tennessee, utility crews arrived from Canada and several states lent Vermont portions of their National Guard. Tremendous progress has been made but much remains to be done. Roads and infrastructure are the most visible and obvious components of recovery, serving the greater good on a large scale with the assistance of massive machines, but another component — that of beginning to heal, getting ready to move on — takes place on a much more intimate scale.
The scope of the destruction, running the length of nearly every river valley, makes the efforts of humans seem puny but people helping people gives hope. Some of the images Victor captured last week stand on their own, needing no wordy embellishments from me.