Lifestyle & Human Interest

All Nursing Home Residents Survive After Devastating Tornado Hits Facility: 'Divine Intervention'


The twister that hit Mayfield, Kentucky, crossed 200 miles, demolished 1,000 homes and killed at least 70 people — but a local nursing home experienced something of a miracle amid the storm when it didn’t lose a single one of its 74 residents.

There were many providences in this story, including the fact that the Mayfield Health and Rehabilitation nursing home had practiced a tornado drill Friday afternoon in light of the impending storm.

Later that day, around 9 p.m., the staff of 20 realized the facility was right in the path of the oncoming tornado, so they started bringing residents to the center of the building.

At 9:27, the nursing home was hit. One of the four wings was completely leveled, and the 35,000-square-foot building was later determined a total loss.

Despite the structural damage, all 74 residents survived, with only two sustaining minor cuts on their arms.

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Two other nursing homes in the area, Mills Nursing & Rehabilitation and Green Acres Healthcare, were untouched.

“When you see the devastation of the building, to have kept that many people alive was truly a miracle,” Regional Director of Operations Sarah Stewart said Monday, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“These are vulnerable, elderly people who cannot run,” Stewart said. “The staff risked their lives to protect them. It’s the best outcome.”

In posts on social media, the facility urged family members not to make the trek to check on things, assuring them that everyone was doing well and had been moved to a safe location.

“Thanks to everyone for the thoughts and prayers!” Mayfield Health and Rehabilitation posted on Saturday. “Our facility was hit hard, but we were able to keep our residents and staff safe, and all residents have been evacuated to sister facilities. Thank you to everyone who helped to facilitate!

“We appreciate your patience as our staff who worked all night try to get some rest. We will be back at it soon! We are so thankful that we had no serious injuries. Please continue to pray for the Mayfield community, our staff, and our residents!”

Another mercy was that eight residents recently had been moved from one of the wings for construction purposes — and that happened to be the wing that was destroyed.

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“It’s hard to say there wasn’t some divine intervention there,” Stewart said.

Photos of the former nursing home make it clear just how blessed the staff and residents were to make it out alive.

“Mayfield Health and Rehab,” Director of Nursing Bethany Crouch posted on Facebook. “A building where so many friendships began. A building that has held a whole lot of love within the walls … no longer stands.

“But what does stand strong is the love, teamwork, dedication, and heroism that was created within that special facility.

“All of the staff that worked so hard, risking their very own lives to protect all 74 residents in the facility on that dreadful Friday night — will forever be my heroes. There will never be enough words or actions that could thank you enough for your dedication to get our residents to safety.

“To stand back and think that every single one of our precious residents made it out of that facility with very minor injuries — is absolutely unbelievable. What a true miracle!!”

“To each of my staff members, I love you,” Crouch said. “I am so thankful for the family that we created within our facility, but for now — it is time to share your love and care to other facilities and residents.

“The building on Indiana Avenue might hold lots of special memories for us, but walls can be rebuilt and new memories can be made. Each and every one of you are amazing and are a true blessing to me.”

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