Colorado wildfires: Good Samaritan Society evacuates safely

Estes Park Village residents are back home after a few days at other locations

Wildfire danger near Estes Park

109 residents at The Good Samaritan Society – Estes Park Village in Colorado are now safely back at home. More than a week ago, Margaret “Marg” Gallup and her neighbors had to be evacuated because of several wildfires closing in on their location.

“We’re back to normal. It felt very good to get back home,” Gallup says.

Exiting in a hurry

The 94-year-old says having to leave Estes Park Village in a hurry this past October was intense. She just tried to do what staff members asked during the emergency.

“I have my husband who is 98. He and I do our darnedest to be as cooperative as we can with everybody,” Gallup says.

Estes Park Village is a mix of twin homes as well as independent and assisted living apartments.

“I can’t say enough about the staff here and the residents are just troopers. They are amazing. I can’t imagine having to do this at 100 years old,” Administrator Julie Lee says.

Lee says several fires near the center’s location were concerning for weeks. So, her team had done some pre-planning on what an evacuation would look like for the center.

When it came time to get out, eight buses took socially distanced residents with masks to nearby Society locations.

“We had to deal with COVID on top of an evacuation. Just add a little bit more fuel to the fire,” Lee says.

Nearby locations pitching in

The centers housing residents during the crisis were Water Valley, Greeley, Loveland and Fort Collins.

“When they got on the buses and they drove out of here, I knew they were going to be welcomed at our sister facilities. I had no worries,” Lee says.

The Gallups went more than 40 miles to The Society’s Water Valley Senior Living Resort.

“When the people who work here were there and saw that we needed something, we had it,” Gallup says.

Estes Park Village residents made it back home on Friday, Oct. 30. Still, staff started preparing for another evacuation just in case.

“When we got back in, the staff repacked all the to-go bags. We made sure we had all of our supplies at the front door. We just wanted to make sure we were prepared so that if we did have to re-evacuate, we could do it easily,” Lee says.

Focus on safety

Lee says the dedication to resident safety sets The Society apart.

“I would do anything for these residents,” she says.

It’s part of the reason why she’s celebrating 18 years at this location. Building relationships with the people in her care means a lot.

“They trust us. Their families trust us. I just wanted to make sure we did everything we could to fulfill that promise to them,” Lee says.

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Posted In Company News, News, Senior Services

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