A year ago we wrote in this space about a vanishing point, when the memories of Irene blurred to become more ancient history than recent past. We still are not at that point, obviously, but the pain of the flood is becoming more of a distant memory.
The story is still unfinished, but many chapters have been completed. Much of the physical damage from the storm has been rebuilt or torn down, picked up, and carted away. Almost all of the area towns affected have rebuilt roads and bridges.
This week we also learned that individuals who lost homes in the flood are starting to see some financial relief. The town of Wilmington has completed its purchase of the Brissette family’s home, just off South Main Street (see story on page 1). We are so happy for the family, and glad to see the buyout process work, even if it seemed insufferably slow at times.
Other properties in Wilmington and neighboring communities are close to having their buyouts completed. What a relief it will be to the families and businesses displaced by the floods, to finally have some closure, along with some funds to help buy new properties and truly feel like they can move on. We can only guess at the pain and uncertainty the past two years have brought to those who lost so much to the floods.
While the stories of pain might be nearing an end, there are many stories still to be told. There are numerous communities still affected by what happened that fateful day two years ago. Wilmington village still has empty storefronts. Wardsboro and Readsboro have houses waiting to be removed and owners waiting for compensation. South Newfane still has bridges to build and debris to clear away. The list goes on and on. There has been a tremendous amount of effort and energy expended to get back to where we are today, but there is still so much more to do.
The final chapter in the Tropical Storm Irene saga is far from written. We all know that. But the story, hopefully, is changing. As we move forward towards that final chapter, the story should continue its metamorphosis from one of destruction to one of recovery and rebirth.