Vermonters Pitching In To Help Their Neighbors

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Host) As more roads open for travel, and word gets out about what’s needed around the state, Vermonters are pitching in to help their neighbors.

And that’s been the case in Rutland County, as VPR’s Melody Bodette reports.

(Bodette) Jason Boyd and friends load up ATVs with loaves of bread and diapers for their second trip into the area around Route 100 in Stockbridge cut off from roadways.

(Boyd) "I spoke with a friend yesterday. I’ve got a lot of family in Pittsfield, a lady in line for an organ transplant. We wanted to get her meds to her. I talked to a couple people in Pittsfield, who had kids who needed formula. So that was the beginning of the mission. I started a Facebook post for ATV support and I’ve needed a secretary ever since."

(Bodette) Boyd is 34-years-old with arms covered in tattoos. He didn’t set out to start a relief operation. He’s just a contractor who can’t get to his job site. But he was called into action when a friend in Bridgewater needed help.

(Boyd) "I spoke to Ian, he said his house was flooding. He needed help. Water was up to his doors. So we set off trying to find a way to get over there. We were unsuccessful the first night. The second day, we tried nine different routes to get there, finally made it over to Plymouth, I guess. Hiked in, met them halfway on the trail, and pulled them out of Bridgewater."

(Bodette) Linda Chase was one of the people Jason Boyd picked up on Monday night.

(Linda Chase) "We hiked about five miles, and walked through water, and Jason and Tad picked us up. Jason lived with me when he was in high school, and he’s never ever changed his gratitude."

(Bodette) As Boyd and other ATVs leave, Richard La Roche stops by to offer support:

(La Roche) "There’s a lot of us general contractors that have put all of our work off to help out individual towns if they need help, if they need things moved or trucked out."

(Bodette) Down the street at the Chittenden Fire Department, more help is on the way.

(Sotirikis) "I’m Jan Sotirikis. Because Pittsfield is our neighboring town, we decided to do something. So we put together this food collection to be able to put together to help bring some normalcy back to their lives."

(Bodette) Collections for food, supplies and clothing are also under way in Rutland at a local women’s shelter. Assistant Director Sharon Norton says people came looking for help, and they’re trying to meet the need.

(Norton) "Yesterday, we actually had to turn quite a few people away, and tell them to come back at a later time.  As long as we’re receiving the donations that are needed, we’ll happily provide flood victims with those things that they need."

(Bodette) Further south in Mount Holly, a dozen people gathered to pump water out of a basement of a home.

(Doris Riser) "A lot of her friends and people she doesn’t even know have come out to empty the water out of her basement. A lot of students from the school, she’s on the school board in Ludlow."


(Bodette) Linda Guerrera’s house is normally separated from a small stream by a road and large front lawn. Not anymore.

(Linda Guerrera) "The river head just kind of broke loose and it just kind of headed in my direction and came over the road into my yard."

(Bodette) Guerrara shares the house with her son Vincent. Guerrara’s insurance company won’t cover the damage. She and Vincent say other than the basement, the house is fine, but it’s now an island accessible by foot.

(Guerrara) "God knows the yard we now have a river running through it and a lot of rock gardens."

(Vincent) "A beach."

(Guerrara) "We have a beach. So that’s great."

(Bodette) You have to laugh, Guerrara says. But she’s still humbled by the support:

(Guerrara) "You don’t realize how many people care about you. How many people in town just lend a hand. I’ve always helped other people and now it’s coming back to me  so, I appreciated it."  

(Vincent) "It’s OK, we’re fine"

(Guerrara) "I’m really blessed."

(Bodette) For VPR News, I’m Melody Bodette in Mount Holly.

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