POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - Senior citizens in Randolph County are now able to return to the center once devastated by flood waters.
The Senior Citizen Wellness Center did suffer some damage, but more importantly, the B.R.A.D.'s central kitchen that provides meals for shut-ins and seniors was ruined. What was the loss to both facilities, and how did the centers recover?
"You can see right here on this electrical panel where we still have a little trash in. It's going to be this at least this high on the panel from the floor." Wanda Hoggard the central kitchen supervisor said the floods put water over the top of the gas range and counters and into shelving and coolers and the freezer.
All the wooden shelving with the exception of the top layer had to be tossed. Now it holds food off the new tile.
Hoggard, "We did lose food I had just gotten a grocery truck in on Tuesday. We lost a whole freezer full of food."
The kitchen prepares about 360 meals a day for seniors and shut-ins in Randolph, Lawrence and Clay counties. They were out of the building for 3 months.
Hoggard, "We drove back and forth to Paragould and worked out of the Senior Center there in Paragould and those people were very nice to work with us there."
Hoggard said she was shocked when she made it back into the building.
Hoggard, "My first reaction was panic because the mud was everywhere."
The building had to be gutted and re-done. Inmates from the sheriffs department did a lot of the work.
Fortunately the major equipment came through all right. They are still fighting a little bit of rust but now they are back at it shipping out meals every day.
Probably because of the road that separates the two facilities the Senior Center didn't get quite as much water inside.
Center Manager Nancy Johnston looked around the brand new looking main room at the center. "We got 14 inches in the kitchen which graduated to 11 inches in the pool room."
Fortunately they were able to get a lot of things off the floor before the water started rising. The seniors have been out of their facility for 4 months.
Johnston, "West Ridge Church of Christ opened their doors to us and they were so gracious. Then we acquired the old Hillcrest building and we stayed there until we moved back here last week."
Johnston said her seniors are glad to be back and it feels like home to them again.