2011-09-08 / Letters to the Editor

Irene has major impact in Vermont

On Aug. 26, Mark and Suzanne Grosby of Jamestown were prepping their sailboat, Northern Light, for hauling at Jamestown Boat Yard in anticipation of Hurricane Irene. They spent the weekend in Jamestown during the storm. That following Monday, the call came that their hometown, Waitsfield, Vt., located in the Mad River Valley, was severely impacted by Hurricane Irene. Off they went to Vermont to help their friends and neighbors. The damage across the entire state of Vermont is catastrophic. At the start, 14 towns were turned into islands with no road access, electricity or telephones.

It was immediately obvious that there was a huge cry for assistance in the valley towns of Waitsfield, Moretown and Fayston, which are part of the Sugarbush and Mad River ski area communities.

More than 50 homes in Moretown alone experienced damaging waters that rushed up to the second floor, taking memories and parts of homes with it. These homes are now without heating and plumbing systems and a cold Vermont winter is fast approaching.

The covered bridge in Waitsfield – which is the second oldest bridge in Vermont (1833) – is still standing, but awaiting inspection as it is believed the foundation has been moved. Bridge Street next to the bridge was completely flooded and many business and restaurants were destroyed.

Volunteers have been working tirelessly shoveling out mud and debris. A volunteer center was set up in the Masonic Temple to match volunteers with jobs that needed to be done, from harvesting crops, providing housing, obtaining supplies like bleach and gloves and masks, and ordering dumpsters.

Thanks to a tremendous effort, the valley is open for business. The Green Mountain Stage Race for 800 bicyclists was held this past weekend. Weddings happened as planned, and the area is ready for foliage season. The state of Vermont – with the help of the National Guard – is rebuilding roads at an amazing speed. You can get there from just about anywhere.

Mark is the president of the Mad River Valley Community Fund, begun in 1989 as an old-time community chest to help residents whose needs fall in the cracks and are not supported by any government programs. He and Suzanne and the board have been working tirelessly for flood relief.

The Mad River Valley Community Fund supplied abbreviated applications specifically for those impacted by the flood and started giving out immediate grants of up to $1,000.

Over $35,000 was given in the first three days.

On Aug. 30, a link to the fund’s website was posted on Facebook and in 30 hours more than $30,000 was raised. The fund is administered by a board of volunteers. All money raised goes directly to those who need it most. Winthrop Smith and Sugarbush Resort gave $100,000 for flood relief. The need is so much more. There are many Jamestown residents with ties to this part of Vermont. More information is available at MRVCommu nityFund.org and on Facebook. For specific information, email info@mrvcommunityfund.org.

Suzanne Grosby

East Shore Road


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