A group of seniors were rescued from a flooded nursing home in Texas after a picture of them stoically enduring the waist-deep deluge went viral.
The 15 residents kept high spirits as waters rose through their assisted living facility, La Vita Bella, in Dickinson on the outskirts of Houston, when Tropical Storm Harvey hit the area on Sunday, Aug. 27.
“My ladies actually were really good,” said Trudy Lampson, owner of the facility, according to Galveston County’s The Daily News. “It was happy. It was funny. You had to laugh, because if you didn’t laugh you’d have to stand there and cry.”
City of Dickinson Office of Emergency Management called for voluntary evacuation on Thursday, but Lampson didn’t think it was necessary. Her facility hadn’t flooded during previous storms.
When she discussed the situation with emergency officials on Saturday, she was told to stay put, she said.
But then Harvey produced a record-setting rainfall.
The seniors were moved to the activity area of the one-story building and the staff called for a rescue.
On Sunday morning, Lampson snapped a picture of the flooded room and sent it to her daughter Kimberly.
Lampson’s son-in-law, Timothy McIntosh, posted it on Twitter with a call for help. It was then picked up by media and went viral.
Later on Sunday, a son of one of the residents drove a boat to the home accompanied by two National Guard trucks to pick up the seniors and three staffers. The residents were taken to another assisted living facility in Alvin, Texas, around 12 miles from La Vita Bella. Four were taken to the hospital, Lampson said.
The rescue was not motivated by the response on social media, said Ken Clark, Galveston County commissioner, according to the Daily Mail.
“We knew about it before it hit social media,” he said. “We were working on a solution for the nursing home, and it was in progress, so social media can sometimes leave one with the wrong impression.”
The women of La Vita Bella range in age from 59 to 99 and have range of medical conditions. They are now, however, being well taken care of, Lampson said.
As the photo of the women went viral, some people noticed a black and white cat in the background and asked for its whereabouts. The pets were apparently not evacuated with the humans.
On Monday, Lampson’s husband returned to the home and rescued the cat, named Bozo, as well as other animals.
“Another happy ending,” McIntosh wrote on Twitter.