A final update from our CEO and Founder, Lynne Katzmann, on Hurricane Irma:
Since Irma took control of our collective attention, the importance of shared community responsibility has become ever more apparent. Irma was a pointed reminder from Mother Nature of the responsibility of a community to share and take care of all its citizens, particularly its most frail.
I am happy to report that both of our Juniper assisted living communities in southwest Florida are nearly back to normal. Our experience this last week in Naples, and particularly in Cape Coral, has been extraordinary, extraordinarily good! When we alerted the community via Facebook that we could use extra portable air conditioners, gas or power cords, people started dropping by with the requested items within 30 minutes. When we were able to return home from the shelter, and when we got our power back, the community again shared our excitement, sending messages of encouragement. We take pride in being a good citizen to our community, and it was energizing to know that we were being embraced by the community at large.
Now it’s our turn to give back. If there are any older persons in the area without power who may need a hot meal or to get out of the heat for part of the day, we are here to help. Give us a call at 239-542-3121 or just stop by, our doors are open for those seniors in need.
Close communication with state authorities was also a high priority for us throughout the storm. We create and maintain detailed emergency plans, which are approved and filed with the state. And, as testament to their validity, they worked even when we needed to adjust for the storm’s size and impact on our usual evacuation sites. We regularly updated our status with the state authorities and our families, and continued to do this with help from the home office team. And that was the right thing to do; the necessary thing to do.
We let the state, and our families, know where our residents were at all times, whether our buildings sustained major damage and whether or not we had basic utilities like power and running water. We let them also know the status of our generators, the fuel to run them and what systems were up and running thanks to the generators. The idea was that by sharing all the information, they would work to expedite restoration of services. In fact, even the governor attended several calls between the agency, the industry association and operators.
We would be remiss to not mention the heroic efforts of our Cape Coral and Naples staff, who stayed with our residents’ and cared for them 24/7 throughout the ordeal. Also, our tremendous appreciation to the families and wider Cape Coral and Naples communities.
At Juniper, we give Giraffe Awards to our associates for going above and beyond and sticking their necks out – all these associates deserve this mighty award. May Cape Coral and Naples be strong like the Juniper tree, resilient to storms and able to thrive again.
Lynne Katzmann, CEO and Founder, Juniper Communities