It was the worst we'd ever seen, yet it brought out the best in all of us. Vermonters showed an incredible strength as they picked up their own shovels and got to work. Small towns held benefit suppers for families who had lost everything. Neighbors traveled on foot or four-wheeler to reach those trapped in towns that had become islands. Local inns opened their doors to those in need. People reacted quickly to help rebuild, recover and renew their communities.
A year later, it is remarkable how much has changed and how much has remained. Rivers have a different character and Jamaica's bridge is at a new angle, but roads are rebuilt, businesses are open and Vermont is still the wonderful place it always was, thanks to the hard work of so many people.
The Stratton Foundation is made up of some of those people, and over the past 12 months has provided support, relief and guidance to nearby communities like Jamaica and Londonderry. The Foundation's fundraising events and donations allowed them to reach out to 300 people. They helped rehabilitate homes, repair furnaces and water heaters, supplement living expenses and gave businesses a hand to get back on their feet. Read some of their stories at VPR.
It was possible thanks to everyone who attended the Stratton Foundation's Winter Gala, danced at the Concert for Vermont, did yoga in the village, rode in the Vermont Challenge, volunteered, or made a donation. Kids from Connecticut, Vermont and New York sold lemonade, held a bake sale, hosted fundraisers and created an "I Heart VT" magnet. The Stratton community, from residents to homeowners to occasional visitors, helped in any way they could. We thank you all for everything you have done, and continue to do, to get our neighbors back on their feet.
President Calvin Coolidge's words in 1927 still ring true today: "I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all because of her indomitable people."
The work continues: visit www.strattonfoundation.org to learn more.
|Trevor Hall playing the Concert for Vermont in May 2012, which raised $7,500 for the Stratton Foundation's Irene relief efforts.|