Sandy strikes vacationing couple at home and on the road - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Sandy strikes vacationing couple at home and on the road

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A Pennsylvania couple vacationing in Vermont experienced the wrath of Sandy both at home and on the road. The couple found shelter Monday and Tuesday night thanks to a bit of Vermont hospitality.

Millie and John Holahan packed Tuesday evening, one day after Sandy first made land-fall on the East Coast. Shortly after four Monday afternoon, trees began crashing around their Woodbury camp.

"We couldn't get out of camp because the tree was on the lines and the lines were blocking our way," said John of the situation.

"We also had a tree go down on the roof last year," said Millie, "so we weren't going to sleep through all of that at all."

"Made the decision to go ahead and clear the tree off the lines," said John, "which is probably not the smartest thing, but one of the things I had to take care of."

After getting out, the Holahans headed to the Village Motel in Hardwick, where General Managers Michael and Terri Merchant offered free shelter to anyone in need. Last year - from their former home in Virginia - the Merchants watched on as Irene swept through.

They say they felt helpless to prevent the devastation. "This year's decision was we're not going to see that again," said Michael Merchant of opening up the motel to those in need.

The Holahans refused the deal Monday but Tuesday it became apparent that they would be staying another night. "We told them no 'ifs,' 'ands,' or 'buts,' that tonight is on us," said Terri Merchant.

The Holahans say they're blown away by the hospitality they received despite being complete strangers. "I think the only way that we can repay them is maybe by doing that for somebody else at some point," said John. Millie nodded in agreement.

But first, the couple will need to fix damage at their Woodbury camp and their home in Pennsylvania - where Sandy toppled a tree into the garage. The couple says they're just thankful that they and their loved ones up and down the coast are safe.

The Holahans say they hope to head back home to Pennsylvania Wednesday. One other person did take shelter from Sandy Monday night at the motel.

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