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Jefferson County
Southwest LTC
News Release
Friday, September 01, 2017

Evacuated Gulf Healthcare Center-Port Arthur residents safe
Local community pulls together after overwhelmed rescue crews delayed 

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — A total of 105 residents from Gulf Healthcare Center-Port Arthur are safe and dry in a second Port Arthur nursing home Friday after being evacuated.

“Times like these reveal a community’s character, and I have been overwhelmed by the tenacity, toughness and compassion of the people here in the Golden Triangle,” said Ron Payne, CEO of Southwest LTC, which owns Gulf Healthcare Center-Port Arthur. “We all pulled together as Texans to take care of each other.”

Payne credited community volunteers as lifesavers after official rescue workers were not able to respond. “Our community came together in our time of need. These were civilian volunteers, some of which were former military and Emergency Medical Technicians, as well as Fire Department and other volunteers,” Payne said. “Everybody stepped up. The people of Port Arthur were there for us when we needed them and we will never forget that.”

Payne said that administration at Gulf Healthcare Center-Port Arthur first called the National Guard to assist with evacuation shortly before midnight, Wednesday morning, after water began to seep into the facility through the sinks, showers and drains. With no one injured at the home, local officials overwhelmed with flood rescues asked administration to shelter in place as the waters slowly rose. By midnight, the facility administration made the decision to evacuate the residents to Senior Rehab, a nearby sister facility not negatively impacted as a result of the flash flood waters.

Over the next 12 hours, more than 20 inches of rain fell on the area, completely inundating rescuers from both the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Guard, thus necessitating the volunteer rescue efforts.

Hurricane Harvey forced the evacuation of thousands of residents from more than 95 nursing and assisted living facilities along the Gulf Coast to inland nursing facilities or other locations able to care for those in need. Many more nursing facilities were forced to implement emergency preparedness plans and shelter in place. With the support of families and local communities, long term care providers are taking care of their residents as well as residents from other facilities in the affected region against incredible odds. 

“The health and safety of our residents is our No. 1 priority,” Payne said. “I am proud of the dedication and tenacity shown by the staff at Gulf Healthcare Center-Port Arthur. This is an unprecedented disaster and the level of complexity involved in moving this population makes things even more difficult. But working together — from private citizens with cars and boats to the first-responders and law enforcement to the state and federal authorities — we have managed to get through this without loss of life.” 

Remembering Jim Guidry

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