Yes, Waterbury, VT, has mud, more than it can use, all of it deposited by the flooding Winooski River courtesy of Hurricane Irene. But residents, their neighbors and volunteers came out Thursday to help get rid of it. Above, volunteer Leslie Ferrer of Waterbury shovels mud and water out of Dave Rogers’s basement on Main Street. Click here for a gallery (mouse-over the thumbnails at the bottom of the gallery page for captions). Below, starting from the top picture:
• Green Mountain Club employees, usually caretakers of Vermont’s Long Trail, were taking care of the clean-up at the Whalley mobile home park;
• Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz removes files from her flooded office in the state office complex;
• photos to be saved at Terri Christie’s house, Main Street;
• at the Alchemist brew pub on Main Street, Jerry Michie carries pieces of the bar out to a dumpster;
• a volunteer mans the mud bucket brigade.
Volunteers checked in with the volunteer center behind the Thatcher Brook school to get assignments, or they just walked off the street and asked what needed to be done. Basic equipment: mud boots, gloves, face masks and a willingness to work and get dirty doing it. Piles of soaked and ruined belongings rose outside houses and businesses up and down the low-lying main streets of the village. Prized or useful a few days ago, they were headed for the landfill. Dust from drying mud hung in the air. There were free lunches handed out by volunteers and the ever-popular Ben & Jerry’s truck dispensed ice cream to all comers. People were hurting, but they worked hard and they were heartened by the outpouring of help.
Vermont has been battered, but the spirit of the those in need and those willing to help is unbelievably strong. I helped shovel too.