Jacob Feeney shows off the newly built foundation in the basement of his Bethel home. During Tropical storm Irene, half the foundation was washed away.
Just about every house in this section of Route 107 was affected by the historic storm, including the one next door which is no longer there. "Just total devastation. Our neighbor's house was demolished and our house was barely hanging on," Jacob Feeney said.
On Monday Feeney and his siblings sat on the stairs to their renovated back yard. The family was able to move back home after being displaced by Irene for ten months. "It was scary and it was kind of that feeling of homelessness that I had never felt before," Madie Feeney said.
Now Hurricane Sandy is on their minds, even though they have been told it's a different, less severe storm than Irene. "It is kind of almost annoying really. We had just got moved back, we are just getting all settled in and now we have the possibility of having it happen all over again," Jacob said.
"Bethel got clobbered during Irene. Of course the whole White River valley did," said Sen. Dick McCormack (D-Bethel).
Just up the road, Senator McCormack ties back a tree in his front yard attempting to combat high winds, which he admits may be an exercise in futility. A way of coping with the uncontrollable -- something he sees throughout the town. "Certainly I don't see people melting down, or even what I would call anxiety. I see people aware. It is a good old Yankee Vermont, feet flat on the ground attitude," he said.
Back at the Feeney's -- they've moved valuables out of the basement and have stocked up on plenty of supplies. "We are taking steps to prepare and that is comforting slightly because you move it and that is one less thing you have to dig out of the muck if we do flood," Jacob said.
And they're trying to find humor in something as serious as a hurricane. "It is kind of funny. It's like oh, we just got moved back in an now we are moving stuff back out again," Madie said.
Local residents will be able to seek shelter at the Bethel High School if the storm is worse than expected -- and as this community knows first hand because of Irene, Mother Nature can be cruel and unpredictable.
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