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To The Editor:
I work for the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury, which was destroyed during Tropical Storm Irene. The staff and the patients were calm and focused during the evacuation. Since then, the patients and staff have been scattered from one end of the state to the other – Springfield, Brattleboro, Burlington, Williamstown and more. It has been a hard struggle for both the staff and patients over the past year. Staff who live in Central Vermont were removed from their homes. People in crisis had nowhere to turn.
It took time before the politicians and the powers that be realized that we are a necessity for the state of Vermont. There were many homeless, some suicides over the past year in Vermont. We were a safe haven for many with mental illness. We are a necessity for the legal system when it comes to housing offenders who don't belong in prison. We are a necessity for alleged offenders who need competency hearings who should not be in prison. We were there for families that did not know what to do with their loved ones in times of severe mental crisis or violence.
I truly hope that Patrick Flood and Governor Shumlin with move forward with speed on replacing the hospital in Central Vermont, bringing the staff home to their families and providing the necessary care that has been missing since Tropical Storm Irene. Personally, I was transitioning from 20 years in Waitsfield to Montpelier, my belongings were in storage in Waterbury – a storage that was flooded during the storm. I had to throw out most everything but all that is/was replaceable. Human lives and humane care is not.