Senior living facility Heartis of Fayetteville Tuesday welcomed 45 South Carolina refugees escaping the approaching Hurricane Dorian.
The bus carrying 25 residents and 20 staff members of the retirement living facility Portside at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach arrived at Heartis of Fayetteville at 6 p.m. Tuesday after a 7-hour trip. The bus driver said traffic was good until they hit the I-85-I-285 exchange north of Atlanta.
“We rented beds, bought shower curtains, stocked extra food, put out welcoming signs, and had a hot meal awaiting them,” said Logan Johnston, executive director of Heartis Fayetteville.
Both facilities are run by Frontier Management, and coordination for possible evacuation of the Myrtle Beach site began several days ago.
The 25 residents came with special health and physical needs, and the 20 staff members brought toddlers and some pets for the 400-mile journey.
They got out as dangerous Hurricane Dorian still crawled toward them, with forecast storm surges of 5 to 7 feet and winds around 100 mph.
The Portside site is less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean, so the effects of the hurricane could be severe. The storm is expected to arrive in that area sometime Thursday through Friday morning.
“We want to make this home their home,” said Pat Jackson, community relations director for Heartis Fayetteville.
“They are displaced, some have medical and physical challenges, so for however many days, we want to make this their home,” Jackson said.
Heartis is at 936 West Lanier Ave., Fayetteville. It offers independent living, assisted living and memory care to seniors.