York County, SC (WBTV) - Nearly 120 Horry County assisted-living residents were evacuated to York County earlier this week, and leaders of the facility say after seeing all of the outages and storm conditions Hurricane Dorian brought early this Thursday morning, they’re glad they made that call.
“There’s no price that you could put on one resident or one staff member’s life, so at the end of the day it just had to be done,” said Robert Pila, the executive Director of Carolina Gardens Senior Living at York.
Pila’s location is one of nine “Carolina Gardens” facilities across the state. On Tuesday, the directors of the locations in Conway and Garden City in Horry County evacuated their residents to Pila’s York facility and another facility in Rock Hill.
“Our thought was, if we stay there, yes, you could have a generator, but you still can’t stop the flooding, and trying to respond after the fact- it’s just not something at Priority Life Care that were interested in doing,” Pila added, referencing Carolina Gardens’ parent company.
And while they were prepared with plenty of space for the evacuees in York, Pila says they didn’t have that many extra beds. Their only option was going to be air mattresses.
“For you and I, it’s a little bit of a pain getting up and down, but for some of our seniors it’s very difficult,” said Pila.
When the American Red Cross of Northern SC heard about the problem they stepped in to help.
Joe Hayes/exec. Director for American Red Cross of northern SC
“I just couldn’t see these folks sitting in here, lying on the floor- that just wasn’t good enough for us,” said Joe Hayes, the executive director of the American Red Cross of Northern SC. He says his disaster program manager and volunteers quickly mobilized. “We jumped in and did what we could to help.”
In addition to supplying the York and Rock Hill locations with 90 cots, the Red Cross gave each resident a blanket and hospitality kit. Evacuees like Marie Scaperrotta say while she’d rather be in her own bed, it could be worse.
“I’m not in the rain and the hurricane, so thank God for that.”
At one point the Horry County Electric Cooperative was reporting nearly 7,000 outages in their area alone.
Carolina Gardens leaders say they’re monitoring the outages and the potential damage and as long as it is safe to go home, they plan on returning around Noon on Friday.
In the meantime, if you’d like to help the Red Cross you can make a donation of $10 by texting Dorian to 90999. You can also learn more on volunteer efforts here.