Hurricane Irene hit Vermont especially hard. While the College sustained little to no damage, there was wide-scale damage in almost every direction. The mountain towns were hit especially hard, some being cut off from the rest of the world by bridges and roads leading into and out of town being washed out. Many of the Fall Athletes put aside preseason practices to go and help our neighbors in need.
The amount of help needed was tremendous, and the emails were going out in all directions asking for any assistance. I was approaching my captains to talk about it when they asked me if there was anything that we could do as a team to help out. Now, that's leadership!
Cross country and Field Hockey had the morning shifts taken care of, so we practiced in the morning, and then set out after lunch. Our team was split into two groups and sent to different locations to help clean up brush and debris, and help get houses cleaned up that had mud and water pouring through them only days before.
It was a very rewarding experience, by all accounts. It's amazing what many hands can do in a short amount of time, and their help was greatly appreciated. The groups had to come back across the mountain to get home, and part of Route 125 had been washed away and was down to one lane. They'd been cleared on the way over, but as it was nearing the late afternoon, the road was closing again. It had been opened specially for emergency vehicles, and those helping with the Hurricane Relief, but there was some miscommunication on the way home.
Our first group got through with a convoy of emergency vehicles and other Aid workers. The other group had been working farther away, and was later coming back, and got stranded with half the football team, and Head Football Coach, Bob Ritter. Fortunately, someone came to let them all through, and everyone made it back to campus safely.