BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — As Hurricane Michael bore down on the Florida Panhandle, Methodist Homes of Alabama & Northwest Florida moved 78 residents to new locations.
Twelve evacuees from Mathison Retirement Community in Panama City, Fla., were moved to Fair Haven on Montclair Road in Birmingham. Methodist Homes made the decision to fully evacuate Mathison by Tuesday as a precaution even though the retirement community was not under mandatory evacuation.
Of its 78 residents, nine were taken to area hospitals and 42 were picked up and evacuated with their family members. The remaining 27 residents, along with seven of Mathison's staff members, took a bus to a Montgomery hotel that was booked for them in anticipation of the storm. The bus made a meal stop at another Methodist Homes community in Alabama on the way, Wesley Place on Honeysuckle in Dothan.
Staff members from Wesley Gardens in Montgomery, another Methodist Homes community, brought meals to the hotel for each breakfast, lunch and dinner of their entire three-day hotel stay while waiting for damage reports out of Panama City.
"This experience has taught us how fortunate we are to have a network of retirement and health care communities," says Christopher Tomlin, president and CEO of Methodist Homes of Alabama & Northwest Florida. "Helping our Panama City residents get the food and care they need on the road would have been much harder if we had not been able to depend on help from our other communities in Dothan, Montgomery and Birmingham."
It soon became apparent that the Mathison evacuees would need to find alternate housing for the short-term future.
"Without power and infrastructure, the building is uninhabitable,” says Tomlin. “We have made contact with the families and are helping them make alternate arrangements for their loved ones."
In addition to the 12 people received at Fair Haven, six evacuees went to Wesley Gardens in Montgomery, three to Wesley Haven Villa in Pensacola, and six to Wesley Place on Honeysuckle in Dothan.