SHAWNEE, Okla. (KFOR) – Dozens of men and women who lived in Brookdale Assisted Living Center out of Shawnee, Oklahoma are lucky to be alive after Wednesday night’s tornado.
“They were heroes, there’s no doubt in my mind,” said Shelle Stewart, Executive Director of Brookdale. “We had staff members who lived blocks down the road running over to make sure the residents lived and were safe.”
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The building can be seen to have sustained massive damage due to the storms.
“Some of the residents if they hadn’t been forced to take shelter in their bathrooms by staff, wouldn’t have survived,” said Stewart. “Literally, there were planks of wood that had shot through the roof that were inches from where residences had been laying.”
Many of them are now safe, some were rushed to the Stillwater location while most were taken to the Ada one.
“That night we had to make a decision on where to take them,” said Stewart. “Also, we have been able to employ the staff members as well. Most are at the other locations with jobs.”
At the Ada location, some of the residents are still trying to get adjusted but are happy to be alive.
“I remember just sitting there minding my own business when I felt everything shaking,” said Marie Mellinger, a resident who luckily survived the tornado in Shawnee. “Just outside my window I could see the daycare and it had fallen down.”
Marie is referring to a daycare that now lays flat next to them.
“It’s so sad but luckily nobody was inside,” said Stewart.
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For now, she says that they are still waiting for the clean-up to finish so they can head inside and find out what is either missing or completely destroyed.
“In the end, I thank the Lord because I was so scared,” said Stewart. “I also am so thankful for my staff. They jumped without hesitation at saving the residents. They waited until the last possible second to save themselves. They are heroes.” Stewart says obviously their residents could use fresh blankets and water where needed.”