A COMMITMENT TO SERVICE AFTER TROPICAL STORM IRENE – FACT 5 of 50
GMVS has had a tremendous impact on the local community since its start in 1973. Our annual community service day and senior service commitment are long standing components of the GMVS program and provide local businesses, volunteer organizations and residents with much needed support.
On August 30th, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene would put the school’s commitment to service to its test.
“From August 28‐29, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene pummeled the slopes and valleys of Vermont with heavy rain and wind. Rainfall totals of 3‐5” were recorded throughout the state, with many areas receiving more than 7”, especially on higher, eastern slopes. As a result, major floodwaters and debris poured through our river ways and communities, from the Mad River valley south to the Deerfield River, affecting 225 municipalities. In many areas, flood levels rivaled or approached the historic flood of 1927, which for 83 years has been a benchmark of Vermont floods.” Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Sacha Pealer, January 4, 2012
After the weekend’s massive rains from the passing storm, the skies cleared to a sunny Monday morning and classes resumed. The campus on Bragg Hill and the new T-bar on Inverness were spared from Irene’s devastation, but the damage that had occurred throughout the Valley was not lost on students and staff. Throughout the day stories were shared of the hardship witnessed, and by the afternoon plans were in place to commit all GMVS resources to the Mad River Valley. Classes were canceled, and although the massive amount of clean up seemed like an impossible task, it was clear that the community needed help.
By Tuesday morning, GMVS students and staff were dispersed throughout the local community and engaged in some of the dirtiest clean up jobs. From Bridge Street to American Flatbread, Waterbury to Moretown, GMVS students and staff fanned out in groups, carried buckets of mud and water, collected farmer’s produce, re-stacked firewood, salvaged equipment and did whatever they could to support the local businesses and residents. Tuesday’s hard work was rewarding and showed how much a large group could accomplish, but also proved that there was much to be done.
The group headed out again on Wednesday for another day of work. And on the following weekend and for many weekends thereafter, the GMVS community actively worked to help those in need. Proceeds from the GMVS musical “Cats” were donated to the Mad River Community Fund and the GMVS spring community service day continued to support those devastated by Irene. GMVS also invited the Rochester High School soccer team to practice on the school field, as theirs had been flooded beyond repair. Below is a list of some of the businesses that GMVS helped in the first days after the flood:
Bridge Street businesses
Simplicity Farm (Turner farm)
The Pitcher Inn
Numerous private residences in Warren, Waitsfield and Fayston
Moretown – general clean up efforts in town