Residents at senior community in Medina were being evacuated when power came back on Saturday afternoon

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 27 December 2022 at 8:21 am

MEDINA – The senior living community at Lakewood Village in Medina is very relieved to have the electricity back on. It went out around noon on Friday from powerful winds, with the temperature then plunging below freezing.

At the park a majority of residents use Spectrum for television, internet and phone. When the power went out, Spectrum also went down, leaving most of the residents without a way to communicate.

It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon when an ambulance call came in from Lakewood Village that officials learned the elderly residents of the park were getting desperate, without power or communication for more than 24 hours.

When the ambulance driver realized the seriousness of the situation, it was reported to Medina Fire Department, and firefighters started going door-to-door and evacuating the residents to Oak Orchard Elementary School, where a warming center had been set up.

Firefighter Steve Miller coordinated efforts and Tim Miller, Nick Lee, Lt. Steve Cooley, Dustin Pahura and Lt. Jacob Crooks knocked on nearly every door of the more than 100 residential units in the park. They were at the last house on Saturday when the power finally came on.

Miller has worked at the fire department since 2005, and this is the first time he has seen a situation like this, he said.

Shelby Fire Department also assisted in transporting people, after rescuing students and staff of the Job Corps.

One couple who lives in Lakewood Village chose to weather the storm at home. Hal and Carol Goodwin have a gas stove, which gives a minimal amount of heat with the oven door left open. Their water heater is gas, so they had hot water.

“We layered on the clothes, heated soup and other simple foods, and kept adding on the layers,” Hal said. “We had a small battery charger we use to charge the car and a small light we could charge, so we played games. Our house phone was out, but our cell phone was fully charged. We have a Dynamo radio, which we can crank up and it will run for a few minutes. We were not comfortable, but we were safe and content.”

On Saturday morning, their house was down to 42 degrees, and they began to consider going to the recreation hall in the park, which had heat and lights, Hal said. But first, he wanted to shovel out one of their cars they had left in the driveway, in case they had to leave.

When a firefighter stopped at his house Saturday afternoon, Hal told him they were considering going to the recreation hall, but he wanted to free his car first. The firefighter said if Hal called, they would come back and get them.

Hal shoveled his drive, then went next door to clear the drive of his neighbor, who lives alone.

“We decided to have a warm bowl of soup before we went to the hall,” Hal said. “As is customary before every meal, I always pray. Because I worked 30 years for the Postal Service, I always include a prayer for first responders and every worker who has to be out in the weather. I ended my prayer on Saturday with, ‘If at all possible, Lord, could we please get our power back.’ In less than a minute, there was a flicker and the lights came on. That was the quickest answer to a prayer I ever witnessed.”

The Goodwins have lived in Lakewood Village for 10 years and this is the first time they have endured a situation like this, Hal said.

“Another 12 hours and it might have been a different story,” he said.