There are few words that can console those who experienced the devastation of the tropical storm remnants of Hurricane Irene Aug. 28 in Vermont.
While many of us expect government and emergency services to be there for us in a time of crisis, we don’t have to wait to start rebuilding our shattered communities. The path to reconstruction begins with you and me.
Take a look at Brandon, a community seriously damaged by flash flooding of the Neshobe River.
Don’t think that Brandon residents are going to walk through the next few months in a fog of despair and hopelessness. Its residents are too tough, too creative not to make something better out of being dealt a very bad hand.
Historic downtown Brandon took the brunt of the Aug. 28 flooding. And it is very likely that many of its iconic buildings, such as the Briggs Carriage House, may have to be demolished because they are structurally unsafe.
That’s why it was so inspiring to me to see Brandonites take charge of the fate dealt them by a cold, cruel cosmos.
A concert on the Brandon Green held Sept. 2—sponsored by Jim Leary, Esq., and Nancy Leary Design—introduced one way that will help rebuild Brandon quickly. It’s called the Brand-Aid Fund.
The Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce established the Brand-Aid Fund to help members of the local business community rebuild shattered lives and commerce. Since small businesses are the engines of small towns like Brandon, it makes perfect sense to start close to home—in the vital downtown area.
The intent of Brandon’s recovery fund, according to the Learys, is to assist businesses trying to reopen after the Irene flood.
It took a lot of courage for the Learys to be forthcoming in a time of crisis; at the time of this writing, the couple’s own house is currently surrounded by water. The pair have been getting to and from their Brandon house via canoe, then bicycling into town to help with the downtown cleanup.
So, how can we help? Well, every penny donated to Brand-Aid will be disbursed to local people, according to Leary. To donate online, see: http://brandon.org/about/brand-aid-fund-donate-now/.
The Vermont Chapter of the Red Cross and the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund need funds, too. Also, to volunteer close to home, check out http://vtresponse.wordpress.com.
Also, check out “I am Vermont Strong”, a rapidly growing Facebook page created by a young Rutland resident. T-shirts and other items sold here will help rebuild the Rutland area.
Let’s step up and help our Vermont neighbors. We can rebuild a better, stronger Vermont. Through adversity comes new strength and vision.
Back in 1901, British editor and journalist John Churton Collins said, “In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends.” His words have special meaning now.