From December 2009 Tips and Tales


If you were an early riser and looked out the window to see the landscape turning white, you probably remembered when you were young and anxious to go out and play in the snow. Now you're retired and can also remember shoveling the sidewalks and driveways, and the heavier the snow the less you liked it. But now that you're at Sunnyside, you can appreciate the white landscape and know that the Buildings/Grounds Directorate will take care of everything. The 13 staff members have been briefed and each knows their specific job. All the snow removal equipment has been prepared. The necessary amount of salt is on hand.

Here at Sunnyside, when there is one inch of snow on the ground the snow removal plan is activated. If it is snowing at night, the guard calls maintenance whenever there is one inch on the ground. The first priority is clearing the road from the entrance to the ambulance dock. The second priority is to be sure that all the staff can come on duty.

If necessary, our four-wheel-drive trucks will pick the staff up at their homes. While the staff are being picked up, the snow is removed from the main employee entrances, the Corson Lobby and Highlands entrance. The next part is to clear all the major roads within Sunnyside and then clear all of the supply docks so that food and medical necessities can be delivered. While keeping the major roads open, driveways and entrances are cleared.

If the snow continues to fall and is very heavy, like what happened about 10 days before Christmas, the crew is divided into two teams and they stay on campus -- using vacant rooms -- and only got home when they could. It was not unusual to clear the same locations two or three times to keep everything open and safe. Do you remember when you shoveled snow? When you got cold you just came inside, had a cup of hot chocolate or coffee and got warm? Not the Sunnyside crew, they came in when they needed refueling!

The weatherman is always right when he predicts snow, but he is not always right as to the location and amount of snow. This time, 6 to 8 inches was predicted and maybe up to 12 inches. We watched as the snow continued to accumulate and the winds continued to blow. Some of the drifts were 4 or 5 feet high. The snow clearing continued until the snow stopped falling and the sun came out.

While the snow clearing was going on, all the normal functions within Sunnyside were able to continue. Residents were cared for. Meals were served. If doctor’s offices were open, residents were driven to their appointments. Clinics continued their appointments. Deliveries were received. Normal maintenance continued. Resident volunteers could continue their work and be driven to the appropriate location. A major concern of the Sunnyside staff in snowy or icy conditions is that no resident or staff member slips and falls. The biggest help residents can do during times like this is to not go outside. If going someplace is a very high priority, please call Transportation or Buildings and Grounds.

Why is Sunnyside Retirement Community the best place for us to be? It's because our staff is always looking out for us. We depend on them and very much appreciate their professionalism and their dedication.

--Whit Scully

Let’s be clear, this storm turned out to be a biggie!! The National Weather Service reported between 18 inches and 24 inches of snow fell in various locations in Rockingham County on December 19, 2009. Compare that with the all-time 24-hour snowfall record in Virginia, which was 33 inches on March 6, 1962, in Big Meadows (of all places!). --Galen