Southwest GA has connection with Joplin Devastation - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Southwest GA has connection with Joplin Devastation

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It's been four years since the deadly tornado pounded Americus and destroyed Sumter Regional Hospital. It hasn't even been two days since the twister swept through and ruined St. John's Hospital, blowing out windows and forcing patients to evacuate.

"We always try to prepare for it and pray that it never happens," said Director of Environmental Services, Jim Morelind. 

Morelind worked with more than 100 employees in the old mining town. He hasn't heard from anyone yet.

"I'll feel better when I get some evident word but I almost don't want to because I know it will be bad news," Morelind said.

No matter the news Morelind and Marketing Director Marcus Johnson say Phoebe Sumter will lend whatever support it can. People did that for them.

"We got cards, prayers, and we are the one hospital that can empathize with what they're going through right now," Johnson said.

Johnson was not at the Americus hospital when the tornado hit. He was hunkered down inside a closet in his home. He saw the devastation at Sumter Regional the next day.

"You could see cars flipped over," Johnson added. "It really looked like a war zone."

People in Americus know it will take Joplin years to rebuild. Phoebe Sumter has been working out of a temporary facility GEMA and FEMA built four years ago after the storm obliterated the building across the street. The brand new hospital is scheduled to open in December.

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