Virginia National Guard soldiers return home

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A group of National Guard soldiers from Virginia are back home after spending weeks cleaning up the mess Hurricane Irene left behind in Vermont.

Vermont was one of the worst hit areas and for our soldiers it was an unforgettable mission. Sergeant Steven Moore recalls just how extensive that damage was.

"Whole houses were demolished, trailers folded in half… I was driving down the road at one time and I seen where a bridge had washed out, well 100 yards up the road, there's a bridge laid up in the woods," said Moore.

That's why the Fort Pickett-based 157th Engineer Platoon and the Blackstone-based 3647th Maintenance Company sent about 20 soldiers and six 20-ton dump trucks to carry out debris.

"It was so bad up there," said David Jett with the Virginia National Guard. "We were just happy to do something to help them out."

"It's just unreal," said Moore. "You wonder what it would be like if it were your house or your area."

Locals helped the soldiers too. They worked to provide hot meals and bagged lunches. The soldiers say there was even an exchange aside from the cleanup.

"They like maple syrup up there, so we got a lot of that, and that was nice, and I'd like to think we did something in return," said Jett. "We showed them how to make sweet tea. They had no clue what that was about."

A mission they won't soon forget.

"I went to Iraq and I thought I did big things there, but this feels different," said Moore. "It seems like it meant more."

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