Cleaning Up After Irene.


With only a night’s sleep to kick off the tired legs from the Kelly Brush Ride, our crew had to rally for an 8AM meeting in the hallowed confines of the Middlebury Ski Room. Our destination was Rochester, a scant hour drive but a world away from the relatively unscathed aftermath of Irene in the Lake Champlain area. Unlike Middlebury, Rochester was hit hard by the storm. We arrived at the volunteer center at the Rochester Town Offices to some very welcoming organizers, pleased to see two vans full of athletic-looking kids. Our volunteer assignments split us into two groups: cleaning up debris at the Crowley’s home, a family whose house was severely damaged by the storm and picking berries at a near-by berry farm. (It had a glut of berries since few customers had been travelling to the area since Irene.)  After a couple hours of berry farming, we collected the whole team at the Crowley’s, as they clearly needed the most help.  We worked collecting debris, amazing amounts of debris from the land around the Crowley’s home. During a lunch break, Tim Crowley told the story of how the water rose –  higher than it ever had in his 25 years in the old home, higher than ever in the home’s 160 year history, higher, higher, higher. He told the story of how there were whitecaps running through his living room, how he feared the house might dislodge from the foundation and float away. He told the story of how the waters rose up to eight feet from valley wall to valley wall (roughly a mile wide) and rushed like a canyon river at amazing speed. The first floor of their home, their pickup truck, and all of their land was submerged. They were trapped in their home for twelve hours. An amazing tale. The photos tell the story of our day and the recovery taking place:

2 Responses to Cleaning Up After Irene.

  1. Claudia September 15, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Wonderful, generous, helpful.

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  1. The Crowley’s Revisited | Middlebury College Ski Team - January 12, 2012

    [...] in September, we kicked off the college year with a service trip over to Rochester, Vermont, in the wake of hurricane Irene. Recently, a student-built film of the work done at the house where we volunteered has made the [...]

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