Journalist Yvonne Daley wanted Castleton State College students to realize just how hard it can be covering a traumatic experience like Hurricane Irene. The former Rutland Herald reporter and author came to CSC on Oct. 27 and using a power point presentation packed with devastating photos, did just that.
“We know we are changed, we don’t know how much,” said Daley, reading the first line of a passage from her new book. You could hear the sadness in her voice.
Daley went on to rehash some of the vivid scenes she witnessed and emotional stories she got to be a part of along the way.
“Flood waters ripped through a cemetery in Rochester ripping coffins out of the ground,” said Daley, her voice filled with sorrow hoping to paint a picture for the audience.
Daley knew the names of multiple people in her photos, and their stories. She spoke about how grateful she was to be recording this piece of Vermont history. She was most surprised at how helpful towns were to one another, how people came out of their houses to help pick up the remainders of their neighbors’ homes. Daley talked about the woodchip trail where people would walk to get places and how others would sit there and hand out coffee and snacks. She was amazed by the devotion communities had to rebuilding and helping.
“I had never seen so many of the tools people used to build roads. It was just really amazing,” said Daley in response to a question from a student in the audience.
The students who weren’t clicking away on their cell phones or having rather loud side conversations, were genuinely interested in how powerful the nature of this hurricane was.
“It’s tough because I’m from out of state. I only know what happened to Castleton. I know it was bad, not that bad,” said Soundings student Sondra Olds.
Many students from Vermont experienced the hurricane first-hand and were affected by it.
“That was powerful, heavy. My dad was doing the woodchip trail,” said Ryan Ackerman.
Daley ended her power point talking about Doug Casella and how he helped by rebuilding roads. She showed a picture of his effort. She told the audience that Casella said it was the most amazing job he’d ever done because it was reconstruction not demolition.
“We think asphalt is something strong,” said Daley pausing for emphasis. “Wrong!”