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FHR staff delivers extraordinary care during blizzard of 2013


FHR staff in southern New England rise to challenge in critical circumstances

Lincoln, RI – February 11, 2013 – As snow quickly accumulated to reach near-record levels and winds howled, tens of thousands lost heat and electricity. All across New England, individuals scurried home from work to stay clear of blizzard conditions. Meanwhile, in Cape Cod, Fall River, New Bedford, and Rhode Island, staff of FHR (Fellowship Health Resources), remained steadfast, delivering extraordinary care under exceptionally challenging circumstances.

In Cape Cod, Massachusetts, persons served in group living programs at Clipper Lane, Depot Road, and Chatham House, were forced to evacuate to shelters at the Dennis-Yarmouth and Nauset regional high schools. Residents and staff at Bob Walker House were also transferred to Palmer Avenue. Rising to the challenge, many FHR staff worked three consecutive shifts over the weekend, totaling more than 24 hours. Cape Cod Regional Director Nancy Murray stated, “It is nothing short of amazing to see staff leave the comfort of their own homes without hesitation to join consumers in shelters. The storm hit us hard, and FHR staff responded quickly in extraordinary measures.”

Meanwhile, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, four sites lost electricity for more than a day. Residents evacuated on both Acushnet Avenue and Garfield Street. New Bedford Regional Director Kimberly Mello explained, “I am so proud of the teamwork and multiple shifts worked by our staff to support each other and our clients. Quickly responding to the magnitude of the blizzard, staff made it a priority and necessity to do whatever was needed. The dedication of staff perfectly exemplified FHR’s mission.”

Denise Silvia, FHR Regional Director in Fall River, explained that staff began preparations prior to the storm, moving clients before Friday in anticipation of the approaching blizzard. Two houses on Vale Street and Spencer Street lost both heat and electricity for over 24 hours. “Words can’t express how thankful I am for the staff’s preparation before the storm. They were exceptional, pleasant, and upbeat in comforting the clients during a difficult time,” Silvia said. 

While turbulent conditions impacted Rhode Island, fortunately, there were no disruptions in any FHR programs.

“We faced a potential crisis, with a major blizzard in New England. Tremendous staff efforts demonstrated their commitment to persons served and the crucial role FHR provides in our communities,” said Joe Dziobek, FHR President and CEO.