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Irene plus 1 - A really sick and twisted blessing in disguise

When floodwaters rose five feet in just 40 minutes on the afternoon of Tropical Storm Irene, “I grabbed a toothbrush and an overnight bag and some dog food and left,” Megan Schultz said.

Shultz, who runs a small wedding planning business, had been watching the water from Doctor’s Brook rise from the garage apartment and office she rents from her parents at their house on Main Street in the center of Moretown.

Doctor’s Brook is a small, seemingly unassuming stream that runs beside the Shultz residence before it meets up with the Mad River across the road. But on the day of the storm, the brook came up over its banks, nearly filling the bottom floors of the Schultz’ house and the garage.

And then, “as quick as it came in, it was gone,” Shultz said. But everything was destroyed. The inside of the house was like “the inside of a snow globe,” Shultz said, explaining that it looked as if someone had picked it up and shaken it, ripping shelves off walls and flinging furniture across rooms.

Thankfully for the Shultzes—and for many whose homes were badly damaged due to flooding from Tropical Storm Irene—Moretown residents, friends and strangers started showing up the very next day to help clean up.

“My sister and I joked for years that it was going to take a village to clean out our parents’ house,” Shultz said, and in the end, it did. But in witnessing the way the community came together after the flood, Shultz has come to see the storm as “a really sick and twisted blessing in disguise,” she said. “And we needed the renovation.”

One year after the flood, the house and garage are still a work in progress, but Shultz and her family are happy to have some semblance of order. Now, “at least around here, you have to really look for the damage,” Shultz said, explaining that she and her neighbors were able to bounce back relatively quickly from the storm, compared to some other towns that didn’t have the same resources or community support.

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