Thursday, September 1, 2011

When Alan Met Irene

When Tropical Storm Irene roared through Waterbury on Sunday night everyone knew that the Village was going to get flooded.  The question was how badly?  No one would know for sure until the sun came up on Monday morning.  It was, from all accounts, a very long night!

My friend, Alan Dunster, was out early taking some pictures and seeing what things looked like.  Alan and his wife, Taunya, are members at Wesley United Methodist, which sits right smack dab in the middle of Main Street where it has stood for many many years!  The old brick building has withstood the 1927 flood, the hurricane of 38 and over the years it has hosted many a chicken pie supper and various community groups in need of a space to meet.  It has seen its share of weddings and baptisms and funerals.  It has been a touch point and a gathering place within the community for a long time and it is an anchor and a beacon within the town!  It is a lovely, grand, old church!

I have spent time at that beautiful church over the years for Vacation Bible School, Christmas parties and various other events.  Even though I grew up at Waterbury Center Community church, Wesley has a special place in my heart because, for as long as I can remember, the two churches were virtually joined at the hip.  One might have been in the Center and one in the Village but we shared much together in true Methodist tradition.  Alan grew up at Wesley and his wife, Taunya, comes from a long line of Methodists.  Taunya's grandfather was a Methodist Preacher and her mother sang some of the most beautiful solos at the Center church when I was growing up!  Wesley has a special place in our hearts, and what Alan found when he finally was able to make it down to the church was heartbreaking!

According to Taunya, the first thing that Alan did was call his father to bring the generator and the pumps.  The basement at Wesley was flooded and it was flooded badly!  The piano that Alan and Taunya's daughter loved so much had floated out to the back entry way.  The kitchen was underwater, the dining area had chairs and tables floating all over the place.  It was a disaster!  Alan worked, and kept working, until Taunya finally talked him into coming home to get some rest.  But the next day, he was back there again, bright and early, working to help clean up a church that his family loved!

Other volunteers did show up eventually, but Alan was one of the first, and he wouldn't quit!  Without Alan, and a small handful of volunteers who got in there quickly, things could have been much worse!  Maybe it was Alan's Marine training that allowed him to react quickly, or maybe it's those good family roots planted over the years, either way, he managed to get past the shock and act quickly.

I like this verse from Proverbs 20 in The Message paraphrase:
"Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart: a wise person draws from the well within."
The river rose but Alan drew from deeper waters!  And his story is like so many other stories that I have heard coming out of Vermont.  One individual at at time, choosing to do the right thing, especially in a time of crisis.  Yes, one person can make a difference!  I can't forget to mention Taunya either because she has been assembling care packages to give out to those in need!  If you have ever wondered what faith in action looks like, you don't have to look far!  I can't show you a clearer example of it than Alan and Taunya!  They get it, they understand and both acted upon that understanding!

As to the church, there were some things that couldn't be saved, like the piano.  The good news is, the church does have flood insurance.  The good folks at Wesley will stand strong and rebuild and be just as vital a part of the community as they always have been!  And I know that Alan and Taunya will be right there, doing what they can to keep that Wesley tradition alive and vibrant!

Thank you Alan and Taunya, for all that you have done and all that you continue to do!  My love and prayers and heart are with you!  I am so very proud of both of you!  Thank you for letting me share your story and your pictures!  Semper Fi my darling friends, Semper Fi!

No comments:

Post a Comment