There is an old adage I’ve had swimming around my mind for the last three days. “You don’t know what you got until its gone.” I’m sure by now you’ve seen the news casts and photographs of the people hard-hit in Vermont. Irene stranded family members, wiped out roads, and ruined friend’s homes. There is no way to sugarcoat the tragedy and loss, it is completely unbelievable.

As a photographer, I was torn with taking images of people’s despair. I brought my camera, but just couldn’t bring myself to take any pictures of the devastation. Instead I ended up rescuing my friend’s childhood photographs from a soggy shoebox and meticulously hand washed and dried the 30+ years of memories. There are just some things that are irreplaceable, and the news casts don’t really show just how much people have lost. This realization has really hit me hard.

But, we Vermonters are resilient. We’re helpful. We’re strong. While digging out friends in Waterbury, I witnessed compassion at its’ finest. Complete strangers were picking up laundry from mud-drenched homes to wash and clean. A woman walked around the neighborhood giving workers free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Small rays of sunshine in an otherwise really sad situation.

I am just one individual. But I know that my helping hands will do more right now than any amount of money. I plan to spend my week away from the business to volunteer in my stinky mud-caked boots and work gloves, helping my community in any way I can, including asking you for help. To my loyal blog readers across the United States, I am requesting your help on behalf of my neighbors, friends and family. I know money is tight for all of us, but please consider donating something… blood to the Red Cross, diapers to the shelter, or if you have a few extra dollars to spare, here are some amazing organizations to donate directly to Vermont. They are yet another testament to how amazing this state and its’ people are, especially in the wake of tragedy.

Donate time:
Donate to the Vermont Food Bank: Text 52000 on your phone, just $10 will yield $60! (details here)
Donate to the Red Cross: Red Cross Vermont/New Hampshire
Don’t have the time or money to donate? Then please simply pass this message along to someone who might. There is no act too small.

President Coolidge said it best:
“I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all because of her indomitable people. They are a race of pioneers who have almost beggared themselves to serve others. If the spirit of liberty should vanish in other parts of the Union, and support of our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little state of Vermont.”