ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – At Green Oaks Nursing Center in Arlington, the rainy weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of the staff or residents: it was moving day!
“It feels like a second home,” says a laughing Janet Hammond, 92. Hammond says she didn’t have time to get frightened when the tornado struck the center earlier this month.”I really didn’t know what was going on–they said go out in the hall, so I went out in the hall and we all ended up in the dining room and by then everybody knew what was going on.”
Regional Vice President, Lonnie Hoffpauir, says his heart was pounding when he learned that the center had been hit. “It could have been disastrous for us. “It’s extremely difficult to get 132 people out of their rooms, because some are bed bound, others are wheel chair bound, but our staff really worked quickly.”
Hoffpauir estimates that the staff only had about 8 minutes to get everyone into the hallways– and says they did an incredible job. “I thought it could have been so much worse. But, at the same time, I knew that we had some pretty severe damage and that we were going to have to do a full evacuation, which is very stressful for our residents and our staff,” says Hoffpauir.
The residents were moved to other centers– some within the corporation and some without. Hoffpauir says Arlington Memorial Hospital even opened up a wing for them to staff and care for their patients. “The community support has just been tremendous.
A wing of the center was badly damaged and will be out of commission for the next 6 to 8 weeks. But, there were no fatalities and only a handful of injuries.
“I knew they were organized enough to where they’d have it all under control,” says Hammond’s daughter, Penny Felton. “They take very good care of her here. But, you still want to get here.”
And today, residents were just happy to get home. Staff members formed a cheering squad and hugged residents as they returned today. The center plans to bring 30-40 patients back per day as they get everyone settled.
“They’re just overjoyed that they are able to get back to their home,” says Hoffpauir. “They’ve missed our staff as our staff has missed them. It’s really a lot of fun for us to see them coming back in and for us to be a part of that.”