Sunderland nursing home thanks emergency responders

Emergency personnel were thanked by the nursing home

SUNDERLAND, Mass. (WWLP) – A Franklin County nursing home Thursday night formally thanked emergency responders and facility staff who helped relocate their residents during an emergency on one of the coldest days of the year this month.

EMT’s, firefighters and staff members were treated to dinner at New England Health Center in Sunderland Thursday evening.

Nursing Home residents had to be evacuated on January 10th after a sprinkler pipe burst, damaging the ceiling and flooding the halls.  Alert Ambulance, Sunderland Fire fighters and nursing home staff members moved patients to Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield and to several sister facilities located around the state.

New England Health Center administrator David Gontaruk told 22News that several staff members came in on their day off to help with the emergency evacuation and relocation of clients.

“It showed the best in our staff,” said Gontaruk.  “That’s what I’m uniquely proud of.”

Gontaruk told 22News that Baystate Franklin opened a closed spare wing for their residents, and New England Health Center workers staffed that wing, offering continuity and comfort to their patients during a very scary time for them.

Gontaruk said it was important to honor the people who helped them on short notice in a difficult situation.

“As you can see, the walls and ceiling are back up,” said Gontaruk pointing to the newly repaired ceilings, walls and pipes. “We brought them in to show them.  They saw it recently when it was not okay.  This is to show them that, indeed, their efforts in protecting our residents are so much appreciated.”

Sunderland Fire Chief Robert Ahearn expressed gratitude for the gesture.  “That was very nice of them. It’s nice to get recognized and thanked for the work we do.”

The repairs are complete and, according to a message from New England Health Center, the residents will start moving back in any day.

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