Jim Douglas joins volunteers to rebuild a home
By Kyle Midura / WCAX News | November 5, 2011 - Richmond, Vermont
Saturday Ayeshah Raftery's home turned into a construction site. Tropical storm Irene caused tens of thousands of dollars-worth of damage as rainwater rose to the height of the first floor.
Raftery and her family had to be removed by boat. I have got FEMA funding and unfortunately it just wasn't enough. Now, 40 volunteers are doing what they can to make it livable again.
"There was a time I was thinking about just walking away from this house." says Raftery. "I feel very lucky that I live in such a wonderful community."
"I used to give orders, but today I'm taking them." says Former Governor James Douglas. He and his wife Dorothy painted the interior.
"I am unskilled labor to put it charitably." he laughs.
Lauren Lavallee and 11 fellow seniors from Champlain College covered much of the exterior.
"I was born and raised in Vermont so it really holds a strong place in my heart so I think we all just came together, saw what we love in VT, and wanted to help out in our community." Lavallee comments.
They worked under the watchful eyes of volunteers from the Home Builders Association. No one watched the clock.
"It was hard getting them to take a break." said the grateful homeowner, "Without the help of everyone I definitely would not even be thinking about returning to this home in December."
Ayeshah's neighbors needed help as well, and with the huge turnout at her place, they were able to spare a couple hands and some brushes.
The former VT Governor noted, "A lot of people are still suffering, and incurring tremendous financial loss."
Douglas says he'll continue to volunteer his time, and the students say their social networking efforts are expected to stir up even more painters and scrapers next week, as Vermont's recovery continues, one house at a time.