Dartmouth Community Continues to Aid Victims of Hurricane Irene


Many Dartmouth employees continue to volunteer to help those affected by Hurricane Irene, which struck the Upper Valley on August 28.


Dartmouth volunteers at a work site, a home in White River Junction, Vt. Front row: Mimi Simpson (President’s Office), Mai Nitta (DMS student), Chandrasekhar Ramanathan (Physics and Astronomy), Sally O. Jaeger (Tuck), Kathy Parsonnet (Norwich, Vt.). Second row: Richard G. Jaeger (Dean of the College), Susan B. Coolbaugh (Residential Life), Miles Blencowe (Physics and Astronomy), Sarah Morgan (Rockefeller Center), Anwen Morgan (Lebanon Jr. High), Betsy Eccles (DHMC). Missing: Stephanie Wolff (Library). (photo courtesy of Mimi Simpson)

Tracy Dustin-Eichler of the Tucker Foundation says that to date at least 50 Dartmouth employees have volunteered with the cleanup of houses in South Royalton and Hartford, Vt. Many more are finding information through Tucker and then volunteering directly in their local communities. Dartmouth employees and others have so far donated more than $7,000 to a relief fund, and have given enough canned food, toiletries, diapers, and clothing to fill eight cars.  The supplies have been sent to the Upper Valley Haven, the Red Cross shelter at Hartford High School, and to the town of Woodstock, Vt.

The work and donations are appreciated. One recent morning in South Royalton about 40 volunteers, including 14 from Dartmouth, gathered at the elementary school. The crew organizer was an employee at Hurricane Flats Farm, which lost all of its crops in the flood. He choked back tears as he looked out at the group. “Thank you for coming,” he said. “So far this has been all neighbor helping neighbor, and we need your help.”

In Woodstock, Vt., two sisters, a 15-year-old freshman at Woodstock High School and an 18-year-old freshman at Johnson and Wales University, lost nearly all of their belongings, including their laptops, in a flood that destroyed their home. Jean Carlan, a research assistant in Dartmouth’s chemistry department, learned of their plight and asked friends and others for donations. “Could you imagine being a mom and getting your daughter ready for her first day of high school from a shelter?” asked Carlan. Recently the Tucker Foundation—thanks to funds given by Dartmouth employees—was able to donate $500 toward the purchase of new laptops for the sisters. “The mom is so thankful,” says Carlan. “She’s been through a lot and all she can think of is her daughters.”

Mimi Simpson, executive director in the Presidents’ Office, joined nine others from Dartmouth as they helped a family clean out their flooded home in White River Junction, Vt. The crew shoveled out mud and filled dump trucks with the wet sheet rock and insulation that they removed. Simpson says the mother and son in the home were incredibly appreciative. “The mom said, ‘Thank God you showed up because we didn’t know what we were going to do,’” says Simpson. “You want to be able to help people, and it’s nice to know you can.”


Steven Smith