One year and one day ago today, we were struck by the greatest natural disaster to hit our little state of Vermont since the flood of 1927. On August 29, 2011, most of us were caught by surprise when Tropical Storm Irene sent flood waters raging down main streets and back roads across the state with reckless abandon. Trickling streams and brooks turned into roaring rivers that engulfed homes, businesses, cars and anything else in their way down hill. People had mere minutes, if not seconds, to find their loved ones, pets, maybe a few prized possessions, and make a run for higher ground.
Northfield, Vermont, home to the Cabot Hosiery Mill and Darn Tough Vermont socks, was hit hard by Irene. While the sock mill remained high and dry up on a hill, the town below wasn’t so lucky. Water Street (pictured below) turned into a river and homes were flooded in seconds, leaving many with no place to go.
But just because the sock mill wasn’t harmed didn’t mean Darn Tough hadn’t been affected. The community that Darn Tough has been a part of for over 30 years was in dire need of help. The Cabots, owners of Darn Tough, generously paid their employes while they spent time drying out their possessions and helping their neighbors secure basic necessities. They also helped cover the expenses of those who were displaced by the flooding. The devastation left by Irene was terrible, but it reminded us that the best in people often comes out under the worst circumstances. In just one short year, our state has made an amazing comeback. It makes us darn proud to be Vermonters!
We received the below letter from a customer a few months after Irene.
Hi Darn Tough Vermont,
I live in Jamaica VT….on Water St. Perhaps you saw footage of
Water Street after Irene came to pay a call. Our house is the last house standing before the four that were undermined and then swept away by the Ball Mountain Brook (BROOK!!). Thought that you would get a kick out of my story. We had only moments to gather some things before being evacuated.
What did I take? My three pair of nearly new and oh-so-cheerful Darn Tough Socks. I figured my feet could be warm and happy even if the rest of me wasn’t! Thank you for your awesome socks.
-Frannie from Jamaica, VT
Frannie later followed up saying she also took a few necessities, like a pillow and sleeping bags, but her Darn Tough socks were the only “memorable” item she grabbed. Are Darn Tough socks a necessity or a luxury? Maybe a little bit of both…