Members of the 2011 Middlebury football team helping out in the community.
In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, Middlebury College athletes spent their first days this semester helping communities in need.
In Middlebury, where initial storm damage was limited to downed trees and loss of power, the Otter Creek continued to rise after the Aug. 28 storm, threatening businesses and homes along its path.
On Thursday, Sept. 1, the Middlebury football team — in town less than 48 hours and yet to hold its first practice — assembled on a closed Bakery Lane along the banks of the river armed with shovels, sand, and hundreds of bags waiting to be filled.
Following an afternoon of preparing and stacking sandbags to protect restaurants and businesses both east and west of the falls, team members were later deployed to a residential area adjacent to the Pulp Mill Bridge, where rising water had crested the river bank and steadily approached a series of homes.
On Saturday, Sept. 3, the cross country teams were expected to travel northeast to Hinesberg to assist in the cleanup and repair of a home and surrounding farm belonging to the parents of Noah Hurlburt, a teacher at Middlebury Union High School and new assistant coach for the Panthers’ men’s and women’s cross country teams.