As we approach the one-year anniversary of the havoc that Tropical Storm Irene wreaked Windham County, I find it necessary to thank many people and businesses.
First and foremost, a huge thank you to Steve Jones, Todd Brown, Dave Moore and the entire South Newfane/Williamsville Volunteer Fire Department for evacuating my home town of South Newfane. When I left my home on the morning of Aug. 28, 2011, I was certain the river across the street from my house would overflow it's banks and my yard would get a little wet. Boy was I wrong.
When my then 1-year-old son and I evacuated our home, we went to the home of Donna and Craig Stone, the best aunt and uncle anyone could ever ask for. I was certain we would spend the night, get up in the morning, go to work/child care and return home that next day. Little did I know that I wouldn't be able to return home to assess the devastation for four days, much less not even be able to camp out there for weeks.
The Rock River disintegrated many sections of the Dover Road, split it in two, and left eight-feet of water/silt in my basement, flooding the main floor of my home, and leaving three to six-feet of silt over my entire property ... and I was one of the fortunate ones. I would eventually be able to live in my home again. Many of my neighbors were not so lucky. Almost a year later as I drive home, I look at all the rubble and condemned homes and I continue to mourn for those families who
My ability to return to my flood-ravaged home and property was due to the generosity of a lot of people and businesses. Please know I am so thankful to all of you.
My sincerest thanks to my cousin Carrie Stone who was in some sense the "foreman" at my house so I could continue to work. Thanks also to Kelly Pawlak, Dave Moulton, Erik Barnes, Thorin Magbe, Jennifer Langdon and the entire team at Mount Snow for their response recovery vehicle, and all of their hard work. By the time this team was finished with my basement it was not only completely empty, but vacuumed clean. Without their efforts the crew from Guy Nidos, my electrician Shawn Stone, and others would not have been able to get in there and repair what they needed to repair or replace. I am forever grateful.
To the wonderful teachers and families at Mount Snow Child Care for the love and support you showed my son and me. You all helped keep some normalcy in our lives. I am so blessed to have you be part of my family.
Thanks to Stacie Chiodi and friends, for all you have done to beautify all the fabrics in my home. Also thanks to FEMA, the Windham County Sheriff's Department, the Newfane Town Clerk, the Newfane Church, and the wonderful family that has a second home in West Dover that allowed us to stay there while my house was being worked on so my son could have a more normal "home" routine.
To Todd Brown Excavating: Thank you for the return of my yard.
To all of my very supportive family, friends, the Deerfield Valley, the Rock River Community, anyone who may have stopped by to help, made a phone call, sent an e-mail, or a text; I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything.
I am forever changed for the better because of this tragedy, and I sincerely thank everyone who was there for my son and I. It truly takes a community.
Heather Newell writes from South Newfane.
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