Today our hometown paper, the Waterbury Record, published a feature about our book launch party for When the River Rose.
You can read it at the Waterbury Record.
On March 9, we threw a book launch party for When the River Rose at the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Center & Cafe at Waterbury Station. It was an incredible event that was featured in a segment on Vermont Public Radio.
The VPR segment included quotes from Waterbury’s David Goodman, who edited the book; Sue Minter, who is helping lead the recovery efforts; and Gordon Miller, a long-time resident who donated photography to the book project. You can listen to the segment at VPR.net.
The book party was a huge success: We sold more than 100 books to a veritable flood of folks from the community, who came out to hear David Goodman and Duncan McDougall speak, watch Gordon Miller’s slideshow, and listen to personal stories from When the River Rose read by their authors – the citizens of Waterbury.
We were even serenaded by two very talented high school students who wrote a song about the flood and sang it to the crowd in perfect harmony.
The interview focused on the devastating impact of last summer’s floods on the town of Waterbury, and how Goodman and McDougall gathered flood stories and worked together with a small team to develop When the River Rose as a benefit for flood relief.
You can watch the segment at WCAX.com.
When the River Rose was featured prominently in this “Stuck in Vermont” video by Eva Sollberger of Seven Days. In the video, a “cash mob” descends on Waterbury’s Bridgeside Books to buy a whole lot of books in a short, wild burst.
You’ll get the idea. Just check out the video!
(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
(This story does not appear in When the River Rose.)
My department at the hospital where I work was wonderful about arranging time off for me. I was basically told to take the time that I needed, which was an amazing gift. They wanted to do more, but I initially thought there was little they could do from Burlington.
A few days after the flood, we realized that we needed to dry out the house, and do so quickly, if we wanted to escape the threat of mold and rot. Steve tried to locate some dehumidifiers – we had one before the flood, but it had been in the basement and thus was submerged and ruined – but the stores were all out and local friends’ machines were spread far and wide with so many wet houses. I put a call in to my department asking if anyone could loan us dehumidifiers or fans.
The next morning we got to our house to start working and found a big collection of dehumidifiers and fans sitting on our front porch. One of the attending physicians had shuttled around to department members’ homes to collect the machines and then driven down to deliver them to our home. I burst into tears at the sight: love in the time of Irene.
My program director showed up that afternoon with still more machines to loan. We had 10 dehumidifiers running 24/7 for more than a week. At first we were pulling in excess of 20 gallons of water each day out of the house. By the time we measured the moisture content of any wood it was down to 8%, which I think may have been drier than it was before the flood.
The FAHC Anesthesia Department played a big part in saving our home.
- Amy Odefey
After listening to WDEV and realizing that the river was rapidly rising – and already flooding one end of our road – we decided to evacuate. Our dog, Callie, who is almost 15 years old, deaf, arthritic and possibly a little neurotic, followed us around as we frantically pulled a few things together. We wouldn’t even think about leaving her behind, so we carried her to the car and fled the house.
When we arrived at the Best Western, which doesn’t accept animals, I checked us in while my husband waited in the car with the dog. It was just my luck: We got the last room, which was right off the main lobby.
So now I had to get creative and figure out how to sneak this dog into our room. Did I mention she doesn’t do leashes well? I snapped the leash on and looked into her cloudy eyes and told her she has a new job. It was being a service dog, so she had better walk quietly and gently beside me. Somehow she must have heard me because when I opened the door to the main lobby she trotted along beside like she had been doing this for years!
Of course all the people in the lobby, along with all the National Guard there, looked at us. I felt like a spotlight was shinning on us as I just squared my shoulders, looked straight ahead and marched on through the crowd and down the hallway to our room. Of course dogs need to go outside periodically, so several times I had to repeat this little performance.
I was very glad that when we checked out, the man at the desk, who had watched all this the night before, only said to me, “You know we don’t accept dogs here.”
I quickly replied, “Yes, I know, but she is a service animal.”
And with a wink and grin we departed.
- Delina Benway
(This story appears in When the River Rose.)
I was just sort of mopping mud out of the inside of the house and was still in a state of shock when someone just came by and said, “What can I do to help?”
I said, “I don’t know. I just don’t know.” And she said, “What are you doing?” And I said, “I’m just mopping out mud right now. And she grabbed the mop out of my hand, and she said, “I’m a good mopper. I’ll do that.” And so she just took the mop right out of my hand and started mopping the floor.
I just wandered through the house to find something else to do. Literally, not ten minutes later, somebody else walked in the house and said, “What are you doing? Can I help you?” And I said, “I’m just pressure washing the driveway.” And he said, “Oh, I can do that for you. I’m a great washer.”
And the people that just came by one after another and wouldn’t allow me to turn them away from helping. They just said, “Here, let me take that mop out of your hand. Let me take the pressure washer out of your hand. Let me do it for you.”
- Eric Smith