On most days, housekeeper Darnel Williams catches a bus to work. If she misses the bus, it’s about a 40-minute walk to Park Manor of South Belt, a skilled nursing facility in South Houston, TX.
On a Sunday in late August — soon after Hurricane Harvey made landfall — there was no bus to be found. Williams (second from left in photo above, with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, far left) started walking through flood water that at times reached her waist, eventually making it to the facility two hours later.
“I just knew some of the patients were scared and frightened,” Williams said. “God just told me to persevere.”
Williams’ selfless act was one of the many displayed by Park Manor staff in the days following the hurricane. Some stayed at work for days, while three members of the dietary team stayed and made staff dinners.
“I don’t think I’ve been more proud of a group of employees than how I felt with the staff I had here during the hurricane,” said Administrator Jessica Brown, LNHA. The facility was visited after the storm by Verma, who asked for officials’ thoughts on improvement for disaster relief.
As for Williams, her advice to long-term care workers faced with a similar situation is simple: invest in tall boots.
“I just feel like I was doing what was important,” she added.