Bettina Hansen / Hartford Courant
Decades from now, we may look back at the 15-month period between Irene and Sandy as a defining time of unity, perhaps fleeting, in heavy weather. Bill Hosley, a cultural resource consultant and expert on Connecticut history, isn't convinced Sandy was widespread enough around the state to have that effect, but it certainly could along the Connecticut shoreline, and absolutely in New Jersey. "It shouldn't take a catastrophe to trigger a sense of yearning for community," said Hosley, who maintains a Facebook page called Creating a Sense of Place for Connecticut. "It makes you realize that we're not just all islands and maybe we need each other from time to time, and that there is something of value in community...People not only remember these things but they hopefully change people's behavior a little bit...We ought to be creative enough to think of ways to foster a stronger sense of community without waiting for wars and disasters."
CAPTION: Kellie Ranaudo of Clinton, right, takes a plate from volunteer Colleen Brooks after Jim Mugavero put in a fresh batch of penne at a free pasta dinner at the Clinton Town Hall a few days after Irene swept through Connecticut. The pasta dinner served hundreds with 30 pounds of donated pasta from Shop Rite and bread from Stop and Shop. Many also stopped by to charge their cell phones and laptops and just check in with neighbors. Stec is part of the 'Pretty Committee', a group of about 25 women in Clinton who do volunteer work around the town.