HALIFAX -- It has been a long road to recovery since Tropical Storm Irene destroyed four bridges and miles of roads in Halifax. For two years, town officials such as Halifax EMS Chief Christina Moore have been working with FEMA to put the town back together.
On Aug. 28, 2011, Moore was on duty as a paramedic in Westminster. Her shift ended at 7 a.m. and she had to get back to Halifax. As a member of the town's Emergency Operation Center and the rescue chief, she was needed but could not take her regular way home.
"I had a heck of a drive," said Moore. "I had to go down through Massachusetts and come up through Greenfield and Colrain. Luckily, we're connected through a state highway that was sufficiently out of the floodplain."
She was guided by Keene, N.H., Mutual Aid responders and met other Halifax rescue squads' members at the town's Emergency Operations Center.
Throughout the next few weeks, emergency responders as well as other citizens volunteered in any way they could.
"Our town was amazing. There was a huge outpouring of volunteer support," said Moore. "We were very well organized, very quickly."
People were out in four wheelers and horses, checking in on their neighbors. They delivered food and water. Hot dishes were brought to the EOC for the volunteers.
For traveling out of Halifax, volunteers set up a unique system, using paper plates. They used three different colored plates to mark the roads. White represented vehicles going to Whitingham and Wilmington, green represented rides to Greenfield, Mass., and blue plates were used for Brattleboro trips.
Moore credits the town's success in being prepared to the training received because of the town's proximity to Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
"Because we're in the EPZ (Emergency Planning Zoning), Halifax has had to have a lot of training on its emergency management system," she said. "We clicked into that gear pretty darn quickly."
When things began going back to normal, Moore stepped up her duties. Although, she was used to performing administrative duties, she took on the role of recovery project manager. She is still working with FEMA.
Last week, the town's Selectboard met at Hale Road to approve the bridge built by Renaud Brothers, which was the last of the Irene recovery construction efforts.
Moore told the Reformer that Halifax is a town with an annual operating budget of $800,000 and it spent over $4.2 million recovering from the storm.
Currently, the town has collectively received $3.6 million from the state and FEMA.
"During the next months, we expect to collect the remainder of the funds," said Moore in an e-mail. "We have had great support from the state of Vermont team led by Ben Rose. The State Treasurer Beth Pearce guided us through difficulty and recognize the huge burden such bills place on small communities like Halifax."
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.