Hotel in Medina provides comfort amidst the storm

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 27 December 2022 at 4:18 pm

MEDINA – Medina’s Comfort Inn and Suites proved to be a refuge for nearly 100 people during the Christmas blizzard.

Employees who reported for work on Christmas Day are still there, working 12-hour shifts. Two front desk employees, two housekeepers and hotel manager Steve Nichols have been running the hotel. Other employees could not make it into work because of the rough road conditions in the blizzard.

The hotel’s 56 hotel rooms were full during the blizzard, with eight other people staying on cots in in the conference room. About 80 others stayed inside at times to get warm until they could be moved to the shelter at the Oak Orchard Primary School.

“After learning how many hotels were closed in the area, including in Pembroke, I’m just glad we were able to help as many people as we could,” Nichols said.

About 15 people from the Iroquois Job Corps were dropped off at the hotel, after the Job Corps’ pipes froze and broke, and the facility was evacuated Saturday with no heat. The Job Corps students and staff have been helping wherever they could, said a hotel employee.

On Saturday morning, the Salvation Army brought an emergency supply of food and Medina Central School gave food from their kitchens to feed those stranded at the hotel.

The hotel usually provides breakfast for its guests, and upped that to three meals a day during the blizzard with the extra food brought from the school.

Nichols said Mayor Mike Sidari and his family lost power at their home and stayed at the hotel. Sidari was instrumental in getting cots and extra food at the hotel, as well as asking the fire department to help transport some of the people to the school, Nichols said.

“The mayor is now an honorary team member,” Nichols said. “He acted as an ambassador for Medina and the hotel. He was awesome.”