(This story does not appear in When the River Rose.)
This is a story about one good Samaritan, Ryan Connally, who personified the thousands of volunteers who came to Waterbury – and Vermont – to help in the wake of Irene.
On Sunday afternoon, day seven of clearing debris, a young man with a backpack and hiking boots appeared at our house at 21 Elm Street asking if we could use help. He said his name was Ryan Connelly and he had a couple of hours to give someone a hand.
We were glad to have his help and energy as we were winding down after long hours of debris removal. Ryan went to work with my son-in-law, Todd Pudvar, in the basement, taking down silt-laden ductwork and throwing it outside. We worked about three hours clearing out the basement while Ryan shared his story with us. He had spent the summer on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska and had come to Vermont to attend a friend’s wedding in Calais. He was hitchhiking from Calais to the Burlington airport to return to North Carolina and stopped to listen to the afternoon music at Rusty Parker Park. While there, Ryan asked one of our neighbors, Corey Hackett, who might need help for a few hours. Corey suggested he check at 21 Elm Street. We sure appreciated Ryan’s energy boost and his help at the end of the day.
We told Ryan about the dinner for volunteers and flood victims at St Leo’s Hall. He didn’t have a place to stay so we let him spend the night upstairs in the Methodist Church and in the morning Todd drove him to the airport.
This is just one example of the many, many hours given by good Samaritans from all over the country. They have come to our state and our town to assist us when we were in need. This help kept many of us going in the face of the large task ahead. We are ever thankful for their gift of time and hope to one day to be able to return the gift to someone else in similar need. Thank you to all the good Samaritans and may God bless you.
- Skip Flanders, assisted by Jan Gendreau