The push to assess the damage left behind by Hurricane Ian is in full force.
Good Samaritan Society locations in Daytona, DeLand and Kissimmee, Florida, have all been impacted in some way. More than 100 residents were evacuated from Kissimmee Village to the DeLand campus ahead of the storm’s arrival.
“DeLand has graciously welcomed our skilled nursing, assisted living and memory care residents from Kissimmee,” says Rev. Christy Hallenbeck Ask, Society director of mission integration and senior pastor.
It’s not clear when they’ll be able to return to Kissimmee just yet. A majority of the campus has seen floodwaters rise to damaging levels, and residents are not advised to be there.
“We’re waiting to gauge when it’s safe for people to start returning to Kissimmee. One of the dynamics there is we have upwards of 1,300 independent living residents in Kissimmee,” Hallenbeck Ask says.
“We know there’s significant damage and crews are just beginning to assess what that is.”
Some of those independent living residents evacuated, but many stayed, against recommendations from both Kissimmee Village staff and Osceola County officials. Society staff is working with first responders to ensure everyone is safe. The organization is also collaborating closely with local, state and federal agencies on ongoing recovery efforts.
‘Dropping everything to be with our residents’
“The care and dedication of our team members already in Florida, those who went down to Florida, those who are up here (in Sioux Falls, South Dakota) supporting, it’s just absolutely astounding,” Hallenbeck Ask says.
She adds she’ll “be in forever awe of the way people have responded. People clearly do not think of their work as just a job.”
“We have Kissimmee employees who are in DeLand. Two of them have lost their own homes. We have people who have major uncertainty about their own homes, and they are still dropping everything to be with our residents and make sure they are safe and supported through this trauma.”
Hundreds of calls from residents and families are coming into the Society’s Connection Center looking for the latest updates at (855) 225-2840. Good Samaritan Society is also providing Hurricane Ian FAQs online.
“It’s been a bittersweet centennial celebration week but at the same time it shows who Good Sam is at our very core,” Hallenbeck Ask says.
“We are so blessed to have the resources of the Sanford network as well. So many people have stepped up to surround the Good Sam family right now.”
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