In the early morning hours of Thursday, July 21st the city of Duluth and surrounding areas were thrown into chaos by Mother Nature. Winds of around 90 miles per hour uprooted trees, snapped electrical poles, broke trees in half, and downed limbs. In the aftermath of the storm approximately 100 power poles were down or broken, and around 85,000 people were without power.
Here in the Northland, we’re a hearty bunch. When the sun came out the growl of chainsaws permeated the air. Residents of Duluth sought out ice, water and generators. Those that could helped those that needed help. The size of some of the trees that came down was astonishing. Some houses had been damaged, sidewalks pulled up and live wires were on the ground everywhere. Streets were impassable, and traffic lights were without power. In fact, five days later, there are still folks without power.
St. Ann’s weathered the storm with no damage, and managed to avoid losing power. Thankfully, we have a back-up generator in the event that the power should go out, and an emergency procedure book should any one of many scenarios play out.
Once the immediate threat of weather has passed, one of our first thoughts, as human beings, goes to the safety of our loved ones. Seniors can have it tough in times of bad weather, if they are in their own house. Physical strength is often necessary. Health issues are a concern if medical equipment requires electricity. There are also the price gougers and scam artists that come out when people are at their most desperate and vulnerable. Often, family is either too far away to help, or trying to deal with their own obstacles and difficulties at the same time.
How nice to have a secure place, like St. Ann’s, where there is a whole community of well-prepared staff for support. Even while the roads were still hazardous, staff navigated downed wires and treacherous intersections devoid of signals;
and even drove on sidewalks to get to work. Our dedicated staff barely “skipped a beat”. Meals were cooked, food was served, nursing care was given, and our Monthly Birthday Party was celebrated as scheduled. (Because our baker took over as cook for the day, a cake had to be purchased from the far side of Duluth, where there was electricity to enable baking, but no one was the wiser.) Most St. Ann’s residents had no idea the storm was so bad until they saw the local news, when it came back on the air. When I think of our motto “Come Home to St. Ann’s”, what better a home than one where a possible disaster ends up being but a blip on your radar.
We are all feeling blessed and hoping the families and friends of our St. Ann’s community are all safe and sound!