My colleague Vini left work early on Friday in an applauded effort of community spirit and civic awareness. Many areas of Vermont are still recovering from the initial effects of Hurricane Irene, coupled with continued rain and thunderstorms hampering both the relief efforts and the natural “drying out of things” (that’s my technical term for it).
I helped Vini take care of some of his pin orders and lapel pin designs, and he drove back to his town of Waterbury, Vermont to volunteer in the local clean-up efforts. I had emailed him about a pin order and that night he sent this email in reply,
Thanks Matt. I worked downtown for about 8 hours yesterday. You cannot believe the disaster on Main and the residential streets of Waterbury. Every home and car is trashed. It is rather gut wrenching and humbling at the same time. There were hundreds of volunteers, however, which is amazing.
Huge dumpsters everywhere and furniture and debris piled up everywhere. I stopped at the Alchemist to chat with some people I know there and the building has been totally gutted right down to the basement. It is a rebuild from the basement up, but they plan on opening up again in a few months.
I’m also not sure how long it will be before people can live in their homes again. The fumes from overturned [heating] oil tanks are dangerous; the HazMat companies are pumping out basements as fast as they can, but it will be months for these people, too. And of course, very few have flood insurance. But FEMA was there yesterday so that ball is rolling.
Count your blessings, as they are many!
Vini is back today, helping our customers with their custom pin, coin, and lanyard projects. But I know his thoughts, and ours are with our neighbors.