Snow Days at State Institutions

In March of 1993, Pennsylvania was hit by a major snow storm, dumping as much as two feet of snow over many cities.  I was working at Selinsgrove Center, a sister facility of Laurelton.  I worked second shift and knew from the weather reports that I would probably not be returning home that evening.  So I packed clothing, some toiletries and a book or two and headed off to work.  I was working at an outside cottage at the time and while the snow was just beginning to fall, my shift started normally.

When the food truck arrived to deliver the evening meal, we were also provided with additional food: cereal, milk, lunch meat, bread, snacks etc.  The snow was piling up outside and the food truck would not be able to make it to the outside cottages the next morning.  

The wind was blowing heavily and visibility was poor.  We kept the girls indoors and for an evening snack.  We had them gather in the day room for some hot cocoa and cookies.  Some of the girls wanted to play games and others liked watching TV or working on puzzles.

As I had suspected, everyone from third shift called off - bad roads.  All of the staff at the Center were mandatory to stay over.  We had a nearby convenience market that was open but staff was ordered that they could not leave the grounds.  The extra food that was provided was to feed staff as well.  We slept in shifts, but two of us had to work 16 hour shifts since one staff person could only work 8 hours due to a doctor's order.  We performed our regular duties, with the added duty of making the meals.  It all went amazingly well.  Even the residents tolerated being indoors. 

The staff ended up staying for two nights and three days.  I can still recall the huge snow plow that was brought in to open the roads on the grounds.  There were many articles in the Sunbury Daily Item about staff at hospitals and nursing homes that were snowed in at work and how they coped.  But, there wasn't any mention of the folks who worked at Laurelton or Selinsgrove Centers.  I know that I was quite relieved to get home. 


Alice F., in her interview, answered the question as to how often over the many years she worked at Laurelton had she not been able to make it in to work?  (She traveled through the state forest on Rt. 45 through Hairy John's State Park.)  She remembered only about 3 days or so that she was unable to make it. 

But, she said that once you had made it in to the Village, you were expected to stay a day or so when the staff that was due could not make it in.  You worked - slept - worked and then maybe you went home.  

She also remarked on the dedication of a number of women on the 2nd shift of the staff who during storms, drove over two mountains to come to work from Sugar Valley and over at least one mountain to come from the New Berlin area.

Hilda S., wrote in her nursing notes, about the time during a very bad storm, that a maintenance vehicle was sent out from Laurelton into Mifflinburg to pick up staff and bring them in.