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    Posted August 29, 2011 by
    Boston, Massachusetts
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Irene's aftermath

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    The State Everyone Overlooked but Irene: Vermont’s Unexpected Disaster


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     hkrpjr2599 lives in Newtonville, Massachusetts, but most of her family and her husband's family live in Vermont. She tells CNN that no one was hurt or injured during the storm and flooding but that they have sustained 'significant property damage.'
    - ccostello3, CNN iReport producer

    A quite road dips down a small hill and through the open mouth of a covered bridge. The slick sky innocently peppers the road with small rain drops and a warm, humid breeze begins to kick up the the lush, green leaves hanging from the trees above. It is the perfect day for fishing. I slip a writhing worm onto my hook and toss it into a deep pool beneath my feet. I don’t know if the fish will bite, but I really don’t care; this is Vermont, and I am here to feed my soul.”


         Tonight, as I read several posts and messages from loved ones in my home state of Vermont, this recent memory of a weekend in the Green Mountain State crumbled faster than a Vermont covered bridge after Irene. And to think, my husband and I debated high-tailing it to family in Vermont to ride out the storm just in case things got bad here in Boston!


         But, as I listen to reporters scream blunt words about my beloved fishing holes and childhood playgrounds as though they are personally hurt, I can’t help but wonder: Where was all this concern two days ago? I watch pictures of incredulous scenes flash across the television, and can’t believe these are places I know and love. Wasn’t this supposed to be New York City, Connecticut, Long Island and Massachusetts?

         Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t wish ill on anyone in any city or state. But, where and when was the concern for Vermont voiced during the almost obsessive media coverage of Irene? Where were the warnings from officials and state leaders? Where were firemen and police officers to issue evacuation notices prior to homes being engulfed by torrents of mud and water, debris and flotsam? Where were those stern, CNN weatherman warnings New Yorkers received when Vermont viewers were considering their plan of action?

         An interview played over and over on CNN with seniors in New Jersey who refused to evacuate shows an elderly woman who says something along the lines of, “We’re from hearty stock. We’re not going anywhere.” But, anyone who has spent time around a Vermonter will tell you there is no, “heartier” stock of American.

         It seems to me that the difference between the citizens of Vermont and other states is that they won’t blame the media for the lack of attention and warning they received, (though they would be perfectly justified in doing so). They won’t cast blame on elected officials who will then go on to sweat out their terms under a burden of guilt. No, they won’t even shake their fists at the sky and scream, “Why us, why Vermont?” Quietly, in the shadow of much more important coverage, and loud mouth commentators saying, “New England was spared,” I suspect my fellow Vermonters will do what they always do in the face of tragedy and hardship: pick up the pieces, begin rebuild, and proudly wear their scars as the state everyone overlooked but Irene.


    (NOTE:Picture is of the White River in South Royalton, Vermont, just a week prior to Irene.)

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