Community helps storm victims

After the recent windstorm knocked out electricity to thousands of Rutland residents’ electricity, Castleton students and professors stepped in to help.Professor Joanna Pencak opened her house last Wednesday to those in the CSC community who were without power to take showers and have a hot meal. Since by then most people had power or found a place to stay, no one from the college showed up.

“Isn’t that what a small school is supposed to do?” Pencak asked. “Help each other out.”

As of late last week, South Main Street was the only area left without power, but residents were promised power back by Saturday.

But although power was restored to most, there were still countless trees crashed through roofs and lawn damage. To help clean up, 30 students, including the hockey team, Student Association, and several faculty members volunteered to load 25 dumpsters with debris, according to Avi Springer.

“At The Center for the Support and Study of the Community, we try to respond to needs in the community whenever we can, and obviously there was a big need for volunteers after this storm,” said Springer.

For residents whose houses received the brunt of the storm, the Central Vermont/New Hampshire Valley Chapter Red Cross, directed by Elizabeth Finlayson, opened a shelter in Rutland and one in Brandon.

Classes on April 18 were abuzz with talk of the storm among those who were kept out of class on Monday and Tuesday. Students regaled their stories of power loss and damage in their houses.

Student Jaime Olson lost her power early Monday morning and did not get it back until late Wednesday. She still made it to class on Tuesday, however, stating she “felt selfish going to school and sitting in a heated classroom.”

She and her family used a generator while their power was out, switching between plugging in the heater and the refrigerator. Though Olson found it was “impossible to do homework by candlelight,” her family was able to play board games to pass time.

Other students decided to circumvent the power outage and stay at a hotel or temporarily move back in with their parents.

“It was a little weird going back,” Genevieve Wilcox said about taking her two children to live with her parents until their power was back.

Wilcox, who hadn’t lived with her parents in 12 years, decided to stay with them because it was “an inconvenience” to have kids and no electricity. She talked about feeling lucky, however, that there was no damage to their house, besides a damaged fence.

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