News

Friendships bloom as flood water rose in Greenhills

ROAD TO RECOVERY: Jacquie Everson pictured outside the front of the Greenhills Lodge Residential Aged Care Service.
ROAD TO RECOVERY: Jacquie Everson pictured outside the front of the Greenhills Lodge Residential Aged Care Service. Scott Davis

THEY say out of adversity comes strength.

And so it is at Greenhills Lodge Aged Care where, for more than 30 hours residents and staff battled through the severe flood that caused havoc in the region on March 31, leaning on each other for support.

But while the floods put Murwillumbah under great stress, the disaster has left a connection between staff and residents stronger than ever before.

Greenhills Lodge manager Jacquie Everson said her team had jumped into action as flood warnings begun to trickle through on Thursday, March 30.

"Through the day there were a few staff and we were getting the notices to evacuate,” Ms Everson said.

"We went racing across to town to get the medication and sent some staff out to get milk, bread and as much supplies as we could.”

Sending as many staff home as she could, Ms Everson said she decided to book accommodation at the nearby Ponciana Motel for the remaining 10 staff before disaster struck.

"I decided to book the hotel next door so we could have somewhere to go and rest and swap over between shifts because we obviously had no idea how much water was coming,” she said.

"We sent six staff off to the motel that had worked through the day and four of us remained here. Then the road collapsed between the motel and here so I had six staff at the motel who couldn't get back to help us and I had four staff for over 30 hours, including me.

"The poor six were over there waving to us but couldn't do anything else.”

A large section of Tweed Valley Way was washed away at Murwillumbah.
A large section of Tweed Valley Way was washed away at Murwillumbah. Toni Kelly Fleeton

With only four staff on hand and 44 residents to care for, Ms Everson said she didn't have time to panic as there was too much to do, including keeping residents calm.

"We informed them all that if we wake them up in the middle of the night it's because it's peak tide and we need help,” she said.

"All night I kept watching the river rise and rise (and it reached) about a metre and a half off the back wall. I'm surprised the bank didn't give way.”

To keep the residents safe, the four staff members, including Ms Everson, decided to start their rounds at 5am and organise showers but plans quickly changed.

"There was no water,” Ms Everson said.

"The mains water was cut off because of the big hole in the road which cut off all our water. Luckily at 3.30am I'd gone into the kitchen and peeled all the vegies and got as much done for lunch as possible so I could have food to cook.”

Greenhills Lodge aged care manager Jacquie Everson (Centre) with Beverley McCloud and Wendy Cook who are enjoying a cup of tea.
Greenhills Lodge aged care manager Jacquie Everson (Centre) with Beverley McCloud and Wendy Cook who are enjoying a cup of tea. Scott Davis

Ms Everson said having no water was a major issue but the residents didn't let it affect them, with many offering assistance.

"I had residents come into me saying 'what can we do?',” she said.

"So, I had them in the kitchen buttering toast, serving toast, serving meals to the other residents and clearing tables. They just wanted to help.”

Greenhills Lodge aged care manager Jacquie Everson with Lesley Perkins, who is enjoying a spot of bingo.
Greenhills Lodge aged care manager Jacquie Everson with Lesley Perkins, who is enjoying a spot of bingo. Scott Davis

Ms Everson said the flood had been the catalyst for friendships amongst the residents and staff that never existed before.

"The residents now yell and call across to each other in the dining room saying 'hello, how are you?',” she said.

"It's amazing the friendships and bonds that have formed from the disaster, it's been fantastic to see. They always say disaster always brings out the best in everybody.

"(The residents) all say even though it was a disaster and it was sad and it was difficult and scary, they know they've built these lasting friendships.”

Since the flood, Ms Everson said she had worked to ensure both staff and residents' mental health was looked after and had created a plan of action in case of another flood.

Greenhills Lodge aged care manager Jacquie Everson (Centre), with Belle Dunne and Lesley Perkins
Greenhills Lodge aged care manager Jacquie Everson (Centre), with Belle Dunne and Lesley Perkins Scott Davis

"After we did a counselling session, I had a debriefing session with the staff that were directly involved and asked for their feedback,” she said.

"I did a bit of a page report up of everything that happened and I got them to read it to come up with any suggestions of what we could have done better. The only thing really we came up with was having more bottled water. The only reason why we didn't have enough bottled water was because we lost water, so we had to use bottle water to make teas and coffees.

"So, come the months from January to May we're now going to stock up more on non-perishable items so we can whip up whatever we want and have more bottles of water and put into place more plastic cups.”

Topics:  greenhills greenhills lodge aged care tweed flood tweed flood 2017


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Action against plastic to protect the ocean

Byron Bay ocean photographer Craig Parry is cleaning up our beaches as part of the Corona and Parley global initiative.

A global initiative to fight plastic pollution

Guns, cash and drugs seized in bikie bust

As part of Strike Force Walenore, police conducted searches for firearms, firearms parts, and ammunitions at two properties of which the occupants were subject to Firearm Prohibition Orders this week.

Two homes searched on North Coast

Glitter obsession not so glitzy for the environment

Courtney Smoulden and Dylan Barker sporting some of the extensive glitter available at Splendour in the Grass 2017 near Byron Bay.

All that glitters is not necessarily gold

Local Partners

VIDEO: The 'Disco Boob' trend at Splendour

VIDEO: REVELLERS lined up in droves at the Glitoris body art tent as the ‘Disco Boobs’ glitter trend took off at the Splendour in the Grass music festival.

Why crowds are loving Happy Kanye at Splendour

Danger Dave and Melissah Marie with the artwork Happy Kanye at Splendour in the Festival 2017.

By Barcelona-based artistic collective Hungry Castle

Amber Heard, Elon Musk among Splendour celebs

Bernard Fanning plays the main stage at Splendour in the Grass 2017 on day 2.

DAY TWO of Splendour in the Grass was the day of celebrities.

DAY 1 WRAP: Fashions leave little to the imagination

Ali Herden, Keisja Divett, Megan Magill and Cassie Durham, of Canberra at Splendour in the Grass 2017.

Sunny weather means the young gets restless and raunchy at Splendour

MOVIE REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes

Andy Serkis monkeys around with Apocalypse Now in War For the Planet Of the Apes.

Ninja Warrior airs clips of dead contestant Johann Ofner

Johann Ofner has been identified as the man shot dead in an incident in the Brisbane CBD this afternoon

He was killed before the series went to air.

Meet 7 of the Fraser Coast's most eligible bachelors

Fraser Coast eligible bachelor - Bobbi Depp.

Are you single and looking for love?

Justin Bieber speaks after cancelling 14 concerts

Helal’s selfie with Bieber

So is he starting his own church or not?

Kendall Jenner's raunchy pose could breach standards

Kendall Jenner

Other celebs including Rita Ora, Bella Hadid posted similar shots.

The best and worst reality TV coming

Matty J in a scene from episode two of The Bachelor.

Reality TV bonanza as Hell’s Kitchen, The Block and Survivor launch.

Tenant: Let me rent, I'll fix your property and pay for it

Noosaville tenant Tony Conyers thought his tenancy was guaranteed until 2035, so he spent his own money on the property. Now he's been told he may not be able to stay for even one more year.

Renter spent $30k on maintaining, improving property over 17 years

TENANTS FROM HELL: See the mess left by evicted couple

DISGUSTING: Mess left by evicted tenants. Owner of the Mongogarie property Christine Beatty has been left at least $5000 out of pocket.

Couple were 'living large' while not paying their rent

How Gladstone's cheapest and most expensive homes stack up

SPECTACULAR: This home on Springs Road, Agnes Water, is selling in the mid-$2 million range.

With the market currently low, now is the time to invest.

'We’re goin' to Bonnie Doon!' and now you can too

How's the serenity?

The experience will have you exclaiming “how’s the serenity?”

New life for Bree and historic Oddfellows Hall

TWO CHANGES: Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased at auction and will renovate into a house.

Historic hall to be turned into home

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!