WEST HARTFORD, Vt. (AP) — A group of Maryland teenagers is helping rebuild two Vermont homes nearly destroyed last year by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.
The group calls itself DreamBuilders, and the members came to the White River Junction area from churches and synagogues in the Baltimore area.
One of two homes they are helping to rebuild belongs to Linda and Randy Hart in West Hartford, across Route 14 from the White River.
When Irene struck, the family fled a birthday party for the Harts’ grandson. When they returned, the house looked like a ruin.
“The muck and mud were everywhere, his presents were strewn all over, the outside toys were gone, the walls were missing,” Linda Hart said.
On Thursday, Linda Hart watched as new exterior walls rose from what was, on Monday, just a foundation. She told Vermont Public Radio the teenagers were making a dream out of what was once a nightmare.
“It’s been 10 months of being basically homeless, you know, begging off friends and family, so this is great,” she said.
John McBeth, an adult leader of DreamBuilders, said the teenagers gain as much as they give touring the country helping people rebuild after disasters.
“People have been honking their horns driving by all day,” he said. “Someone wanted to bring us a pizza, but our meals are all set. The outpouring of love we are getting from this community is what makes it all worthwhile.”
DreamBuilders heard about the damage from Irene, and contacted COVER Home Repair, a White River Junction-based nonprofit agency. COVER’s director Rob Schultz said the volunteers brought not only labor, but money.
“And of course that’s the real stumbling block for so many of the Irene homeowners, is that in spite of everything they do not have the money to move forward,” said Schultz.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)