Rebuilding and remembering three years after Irene

Updated: 08/28/2014 5:35 PM
Created: 08/28/2014 9:06 AM WNYT.com
By: Subrina Dhammi

It's hard to believe three years have passed since the Capital Region was being hit by one of the strongest storms this area has ever seen.    

Tropical Storm Irene claimed three lives as it pounded the region on Aug. 28, 2011.

Parts of some communities were torn apart by the flood waters.

While some people are still rebuilding three years later, others have just started.

"It’s been a really long, long road. We certainly didn’t anticipate being in this process three years later," said Suzanne Robinson-Parisi.

Her home is still not livable, but it’s getting close. As she stood in the dining room of her home, she explained it was "mostly done, but not quite."

She’s been fortunate enough to stay in a home close-by so her husband, who has been doing most of the work by himself, can rebuild at his own pace.

However, paying utilities on two houses for the past three years has been tough.

"I want to get in here. Yeah, I’m ready," Robinson-Parisi proclaimed.

Another resident, Leslie Price, is marking the three-year anniversary by watching construction crews finally start to break ground on her new home.

"I never thought I would have a house. I thought it was going to just be an empty lot. With the New York Rising program, it allowed that to happen," she said.

Price is known for big things happening around the anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene. She marked the one-year anniversary by reopening her hair salon.

“In the event of another flood, I had seven and a half feet come through there, so my house will be eight feet up. I think I will be safe," said Price. "But you can’t get too get too excited about it because you don’t want to get let down and God knows we’ve had lots of letdowns."

Now things are looking up. So much so that those involved in getting the village to this point want to stop using the word "recovery" when it comes to Irene.

"When people think of recovery, they think of disaster. They sort of go together," explained Sarah Goodrich of Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT). "We’re well beyond that. It’s been three years. We’re moving into renewal. We’re moving into the excitement of the future."

Some people are still coming forward asking for help for the very first time.

SALT says one person recently reached out saying he hasn't had heat for the past three years. He's been using a portable heater.

Another person says they still don't have a working water system.

So even three years later, donations are still needed.


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