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We have a million blessings to be thankful for this year. We got hit hard by Mean Irene, but not as hard as some of our neighbors in other parts of the state.


In Waitsfield, Warren and Fayston, our businesses, basements, roads and homes took it on the chin, but not as bad as other parts of the state and certainly not as bad as our friends in Moretown and Waterbury.


We are thankful that we were spared as much of the devastation that we were. We are grateful that no one from our Valley lost his or her life – although the loss of the Garofano father and son from Rutland and the woman from southern Vermont feels like family in a state this small.


We were lucky to have only minimal power loss, and our road network, while damaged, remained functional. Those are all blessings.


But the real blessing here and throughout the state has been the human response to the tragedy wrought by Hurricane Irene. In addition to the huge outpouring of financial help for flood victims there was a tsunami of human help.


People armed with buckets and boots and bleach, with hammers, tape measures and gloves started helping friends and neighbors and people they did not yet know as soon as the sun rose on August 29.  People came from near and far to help and are still helping.


And in a direct rebuttal to the Lord of the Flies mentality, this event never brought out the worst in Vermonters. It brought out the best. People helped each other –period.


People organized themselves in their towns, assigned tasks, looked after the elderly and infirm, got supplies and dispensed help where needed. Town Halls, churches and schools functioned as they had 100 years ago as the nerve center of the town where people gathered to hear what their leaders had to say.


And our local leaders led.

We have much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving 2011.