Before the weather was supposed to come, I had a message from my aunt. She was telling us all that they were hunkering down and were prepared for whatever Irene brought. I thought that maybe she was over reacting a bit. I knew they were supposed to get a lot of rain, but come on- they aren't on the coast or anything. Then I started to see pictures.
The first were of Woodstock and Quechee (two towns that are part of the Covered Bridges Half Marathon- a race I've run twice). The pictures and videos were shocking to me.
I quickly got in touch with my cousins to make sure their mother was ok. She's an EMT in Woodstock and luckily was fine- but was very busy trying to help.
Then my uncle started to post pictures and video from his neck of the woods (the next three photos are taken from his Facebook page):
Thanks to the internet, I knew that despite the flooding, my family was ok. But not everyone was so lucky and Vermont is a mess. They have seen the worst flooding in the last 100 years. Covered bridges have been washed away, neighbourhoods have been cut off, and people are still waiting to see what is under all of that water.
My heart aches for all the people who have lost their homes, their family members, and just for the state in general. It is such a beautiful place full of really nice people (including my family). It is a state that my family lives (and loves), my grandfather loved (and worked so hard to make a better place), and a place that I love and love to visit.
Luckily, Vermonters are darn plucky and are ready to clean up and fix things up. The National Guard has brought help and people are working hard to get Vermont back into shape. But there is a lot of help needed...
So how can we help? As the video "said"- the Red Cross is collecting donations to help with relief. A t-shirt company is selling shirts to help raise money. And another way to help is by helping with our tourist dollars. If you are close enough to visit- go check it out! Once things are cleaned up go "stimulate the economy" (as my aunt likes to call it). Go see all that Vermont has to offer. In the fall the leaves are gorgeous. In the winter there's skiing. All year round there is cross-border shopping, breweries to tour, the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory, and maple syrup. There's something for everyone.
Once you visit, you'll love Vermont too.