‘I was blown away’: Blizzard conditions spark determination for staff at Legacy of Brownsdale

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, February 26, 2019

While dangerous blizzard conditions meant most of southeastern Minnesota stayed home, there were still some who braved the storm because there were people who depended on them.

Legacy of Brownsdale experienced much of what others in the area were going through during the weekend’s storm. With more than 10 inches of snow and gusty winds that caused white-out conditions, the threat of getting stranded out in the weekend’s blizzard was almost certain.Travel advisories were in effect and roads were even closed.

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Yet work doesn’t stop for places like hospitals, plow drivers, law enforcement and emergency medical services. Legacy of Brownsdale, an assisted living center, is no different. Staff remained focused on providing healthcare and other services for those who depended on them, regardless of weather conditions.

“Upper level management was directly involved in ensuring our residents needs would continue to be met throughout the storm period,” said Deidra Burke, owner and property manager of Legacy of Brownsdale. “That said, finding the level of commitment in direct care staff that we experienced over this last weekend is highly unusual. The hard work the staff does day in and day out is generally not recognized in our industry.”

What stunned Burke, however, was the level of commitment from the direct care staff despite the dangers of traveling in the blizzard and insisting on working overnight to continue providing care to residents.

Three staff members were scheduled from 2-10 p.m. on Saturday, but those three employees insisted staying on-shift and alternated sleep schedules in Legacy’s model room over a 24-hour period.

“Not just request, they insisted on it,” she said. “They took the lead on this and contacted their co-workers telling them not to attempt the roads or further complicate emergency services access and time. They literally insisted on it. I was blown away.”

Yet, there was still a level of commitment that employees expressed in stepping up to help their team continue to provide care. Burke said two more staff members arrived Sunday night at 11 p.m. after a three-hour car ride from Austin with the help of a local farmer who helped pull them out of a ditch.

“When we saw our staff not only volunteer, but insist on remaining in the building to ensure our residents’ care needs were being met over the weekend, we were astounded as it’s highly unusual,” she said. “The staff members over this last weekend left me with an insurmountable sense of pride to be directly related to these individuals. The two that insisted on coming in last night to relieve their prior coworkers from a 24-hour shift was undeniably impressive.”

The amount of gratitude that Burke felt for the caregivers at Legacy of Brownsdale was immeasurable, noting that those who stayed or worked will be receiving “a surprise” as a sincere thank-you for those who went above and beyond.

“It’s difficult to say thank you and expect mere words to express our gratitude,” she said. “Our staff will find a surprise in their paychecks this coming pay period. I don’t know of any better way to express our gratitude than to help them care for the ones they love.”