Local man raises $100k to help flood victims

Saturday September 24, 2011

BRATTLEBORO -- Two days after the historic flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene, Adam Palmiter of Palmiter Realty Group was stuck in his office manning the phones when he got an idea for how to help local business owners.

Working at various charities as well as at web design, he said he knew the fastest way to get the word out for where people could help was through the Internet.

So he created a website -- wilmingtonvtfloodrelief.com -- and began asking local donors, second homeowners and other charitable fundraisers and organizations to share anything they may have.

In less than a month’s time, more than $103,000 was raised to help the dozens of businesses damaged or destroyed by the flooding, Palmiter said.

"As someone who was raised in the area ... frequents the downtown businesses and just bought a home this summer ... I wanted to help as much as possible," Palmiter said.

He said he thought national media coverage would swiftly wane and that time was of the essence.

Although many business owners would be receiving financial assistance from FEMA, many of the shops and restaurants wouldn’t be able to reopen without other financial relief, he said.

After raising $35,000 in the first week, Palmiter asked the Deerfield Valley Rotary Club about running the donations through their fund in order to gain non-profit charitable status. The members agreed and the fund was opened to include businesses affected in Dover and Whitingham, as well as Wilmington.

"The destruction was far and wide," he said. "We knew a lot of people needed help and we wanted to make sure the funds were available to those who need it."

A committee of local business owners has been formed to review applications and distribute grants.

"We want to help as many Deerfield Valley businesses get back on their feet as fast as possible," Palmiter said.

Applications are now available at the post offices in East and West Dover, Wilmington, and in Whitingham at the temporary location of the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on how to apply or to donate, visit www.wilmingtonvtfloodrelief.com.

Josh Stilts can be reached at jstilts@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 273.


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