How Sandy Did Not Stop Recovery at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Hurrican Sandy in DC

If you ever wondered how hurricane names are picked, you would likely not find it is for their etymological meaning. Sandy, the largest tropical storm ever recorded in the Atlantic by modern meteorology, can hardly be thought of as the “protector of mankind”, as its Greek origin would suggest. If Sandy did nothing to protect humanity, our staff at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic did everything they could to protect our clients from the storm. Even as a baby decided to come to this world just in the middle of it.

A week before Sandy, staff began planning for it. The program directors made sure that enough medications, food, a change of clothes, batteries, and any kind of supplies our clients may need would be available during and after the event.

When Sandy hit the DC area, our programs continued to operate with no interruption to the daily routine. “Staff were on site the day of the storm”, said George Knoerlein, the Director of Clinical Operations at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic, “They worked extra hours in order to cover shifts of other staff who were unable to get to the office. They did everything they could to ensure that our clients would not be affected by the storm in any way.”

Although the DC area was not affected as severely by the storm as other eastern regions, a lot of trees fell causing extensive power outages, and flooding occurred along the Potomac. Schools and government offices were closed until Wednesday, when life finally edged toward a semblance of routine.

While the area was almost paralyzed, counseling sessions and daily activities were held regularly in all our programs, along with groups for clients to talk and process their fears and concerns about the storm.  Even with power outages and major difficulties due to the inclement weather, Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic did not give in. “During the night of the storm we had staff driving to one of the programs to make sure that the generators and the sump pump would work properly.” George said. Some staff had to stay in a hotel close to the programs, so that they could be back to work the following morning.

At Demeter House, our program serving adult women, mothers with children, and pregnant women, one of our clients began to feel contractions on Monday night, right when the storm was at its worst and there was no power in the building. Around 4 am, with contractions were getting worse, staff called 911 and the client was transported to the closest hospital. A wonderful and healthy baby girl was born at 1:30 pm on Tuesday.

Recovery never stops at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic. A heart-felt thank you goes to our hard-working, tireless and dedicated staff, who were there keeping our clients safe. 

If you or a loved one needs help for substance abuse, call us today at 1 888 671 9392 or send us an email.

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