VSEA Member Support Committee Cuts First Check To Aid VSEA Members Impacted By Irene

VSH employee Peggy Lord’s Waterbury home was completely destroyed by Irene’s flooding. To help, this morning Lord and her family received a $500 check from the union’s Member Support Committee. 

                This morning, VSEA’s Member Support Committee presented Vermont State Hospital employee Peggy Lord with a $500 flood-relief check; the first such check issued to help state employees whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Irene.
                Lord and her family, which includes a husband and three children, lost their home in Waterbury and their car in severe flooding caused by Irene. When the flood struck, Lord and her husband were near Newport and they were on their way home to help their kids (ages 15,11 and 10) eat the pizza they had ordered for dinner, but then the texts and pictures started coming to Peggy’s phone.
                “Each picture my son sent showed the water rising around the house,” explains Lord. “That’s when I looked at my husband and said we need to hurry up and get home.”
                By the time the couple reached Waterbury, they discovered they could not enter the town off I-89’s exit 10, so they doubled back and got off exit 9 in Middlesex, which was flooding but still open. Once arriving at the house, the water was already up to Peggy’s knees, so the Lord’s instructed their kids to gather up a couple sets of clothes and some other necessities, including the dog, and everyone piled in the car and made a hasty exit to go and stay with nearby relatives.
                “It’s wonderful that we had a place to go, but, now weeks later, seven people in a single-wide is becoming more and more challenging,” says Lord. “We hope to be moving into temporary housing this weekend.” She adds that her insurance company was terrific about replacing her lost vehicle right away.
                Lord says she has continued to work shifts at temporary VSH sites while also working hard to get her life—and her family’s life—back on track. She admits, however, that it hasn’t been easy.
                “I’ve been in that house for 15 years, and thankfully I had to purchase flood insurance, so we’re not as bad off as a lot of other Vermonters, but it’s still tough seeing everything you owned destroyed,” says Lord. “I don’t think we’ll be rebuilding on the old site though. I’m ready to move.”                
                Lord says she’s a little unclear about where to move though because she doesn’t know yet what the State Hospital’s future will be.
                “I lived in Waterbury and the VSH is right there, so that was great,” explains Ford. “But I don’t think we’ll ever be going back to the State Hospital. It’s gone.”
                Lord thanked VSEA and the Member Support Committee for the check, saying the family really appreciates it, and she reminded that every little bit helps, especially now.
                “This money is welcome and very much appreciated,” says Lord. “I know we’re not alone in this and I hope other employees will also be helped by the Committee.”
Note: The Member Support Committee is already working to cut checks to nearly a dozen additional state employees impacted by Irene.