Matthews, MO nursing home waiting to get residents back after tornado

MATTHEWS, MO (KFVS) - The town of Matthews was scarred after a 120 mph EF2 tornado ripped through the southeastern part of the community on Saturday, February 24.

As of Thursday, March 8, the people at the Cotton Point Living Center was still waiting for repairs and there was no timeline set. The staff was still commuting to other facilities where residents were sent.

They said, "everybody is doing well."

The twister heavily damaged several homes and businesses and uprooted families in the process.

One of those businesses was the Cotton Point Living Center which had 57 residents in addition to staff members in the building at the time the storm.

When the tornado came through and hit the facility, it destroyed fencing, ripped off roofs and blew out windows.

"The staff reacted very quickly when they heard the boom," Cotton Point Living Center Administrator Julie Harris said. "Then they started evacuating residents to the dining area."

Only one resident had a minor cut which was taken care of at the scene.

The other residents came together and waited to be moved to other facilities.

"We feel blessed," Harris said. "Very blessed," added Cotton Point Living Center Director of Nursing Heather Chasteen. "The staff were safe. The residents were safe and they all did very well."

Staff members helped out the residents and even other staff members that off came in to help out as well.

Residents were taken to other care facilities around the area. They also received a lot of help from other nursing homes such as the Lutheran Home in Cape Girardeau, the Minor Nursery Center, Caruthersville South Gate Nursing Center, River Oaks in Steele, Hunter Acres in Sikeston, the Missouri Delta Medical Center and more.

"Some of them went to the hospital until we could find a bed for them," Harris explained. "The remainder of them went to our sister facilities throughout several counties around here."

The facility has since been cleaned up inside as much as they are able to at this time as they wait for adjusters to complete their assessments.

"We're waiting on the adjusters," Harris added. "They've been here for two days. Then we will have local inspectors come in to make sure everything is safe."

"Everyone is ready to come home but they are safe and they are happy," Chasteen said. "We are just waiting for the insurance adjusters to finish and get the contractors in here and figure out how long it will take."

Until then, the staff members will continue to take care of the residents at the other facilities while other staff clean what they can and prepare for their arrival back.

"That's our priority at this point," Chasteen said. "Do what we can to get the facility ready for them to come home and have a party."

"We'll have a welcome home party. For the residents and staff," Harris added.

As for now, staff members here feel they are a resilient group and won't let a tornado keep them down. They all said they can't wait until the residents are back so they can get back to some normalcy.

"We miss them and love them," Chasteen said. We just can't wait for them to come home."

Both Harris and Chasteen want to thank the community along with everyone else that helped out that night and the days following as they continue to rebuild back to what they had before the storm.

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