Administrator of Brandon nursing home hit hard by flooding finds silver lining: the community

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 6:47 PM CDT
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RANKIN CO., Miss. (WLBT) - Sheriff Bryan Bailey estimated nearly 200 people were rescued across Rankin County Wednesday as residents and businesses took on high water. Forty-two of those people were residents and staff of the Peach Tree Village nursing home.

Thursday, the very same people who were rescued went back to collect any of their things that made it through the flooding.

Whether they’re staying with family or at another assisted living facility, the 31 residents and 11 staff members who were forced to evacuate are safe and secure.

The facility itself though wasn’t so lucky.

“We had a restoration crew come in, once the water receded, and they worked through the night. They’re still working on that,” the facility’s administrator, John Bilbro said. “The work is not done. We’re still going, and we will be for a little bit.”

The nursing home had just begun a major renovation project, which immediately came to a halt Wednesday after taking about two to three feet of water.

Bilbro said what happened was awful, but there is a silver lining.

“We’re really happy with the way that the community pulled together and really loved on these people who [lost] their home,” he said.

Part of that effort was Brent Robinson, Executive Vice President of Genna Benna’s.

The Brandon restaurant provided hot meals to 19 of the 42 people who were rescued from Peach Tree Village and taken to the Rankin County Safe Room.

“As good as the city of Brandon is to Genna Benna’s, it was a no-brainer. We did all we could, got some meals over there, and took care of some of those residents that were in need,” Robinson said.

Bilbro said that community spirit is ultimately what’s helping him stay positive as crews work to get the facility ready to welcome people back.

“We’ve already got our contractor and people in place. Our team is hard at work,” Bilbro said. “We’ve already got people asking us when they can come home... back to Peach Tree.”

The administrator said they’ll be assessing damages all week and couldn’t give an estimate on what’s already been assessed.

However, those numbers don’t even compare to the number of lives that were saved Wednesday.

For more weather updates on potential flooding, click here.

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