Building on Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacies of community and service, about 40 people took part in a day-long event Monday that taught them how to collect the stories on Hurricane Irene.
Held at Middleburgh's Reformed Church, the Day of Reflection on Service was organized and led by RPI, the New York State Folklore Society, and AmeriCorps VISA.
The effort's goal is to record the stories of those who were affected by the 2011 storm-including the volunteers who pitched in to help with recovery.
Lillian Caza of Schoharie, a professor at RPI, and one of those leading the workshop. Told the group she's especially interested in hearing about what motivated the volunteers.
"I was one of those who was displaced," she said. "I want to know more about why people came in and why they did it."
Ellen McHale, executive director of the New York State Folklore Society, and Cynthia Smith, RPI's assistant dean of students, also offering advice on interviewing those who weathered the storm.
Then, Monday's volunteers had to chance to practice with the hand-held recording equipment and start their interviews.
The stories collected in what's being called "Building Hope, Recovering Community," will be used as part of a website and a book focusing on those who came together after Irene.
The long-term project is being modeled on the "Sandy Storyline," which is collecting stories of Hurricane Sandy.
Monday's guest speaker, Congressman Chris Gibson, said the recovery efforts in both places are very much in line with Dr. King's message.
"Today we remember not only Dr. King, but the flood that devastated our communities and how so many people came together to help," he said.
Drawing on his military experience, Congressman Gibson also pointed out how important it is for people to share their stories after horrific events.
"I was here after the storm and tremendous progress has been made," he added. "These are very resilient people. We need to remember their stories for future generations."