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Westminster Oaks Welcomes Hurricane Matthew Evacuees

Westminster Oaks

Tallahassee retirement community Westminster Oaks is opening its doors to Jacksonville evacuees from Hurricane Matthew. Forty-seven assisted living residents from Westminster Woods, a sister facility in Saint Johns County, arrived Thursday morning, along with twenty staff members and their families.

The visitors are settling in at the Maguire Center, a large auditorium, and at a nursing wing on the Tallahassee campus. Don Wilson is the executive director of Westminster Oaks.

“We’re doing well, and the residents are watching the Weather Channel and glad they’re not in Jacksonville right now,” he said.

But for now, he says the visitors are making themselves at home, and local residents and staff are lending a hand.

"These are hearty souls, and good staff and good residents. They all kind of get together and take care of each other, so it's a good group. And the residents here at Westminster Oaks are even helping out as volunteers with the residents that got transported over from Jacksonville. We're all just one big giant family," he said.

Wilson hopes to transition the visitors back home as soon as Saturday afternoon, but says the timeline will depend on Hurricane Matthew’s impact. The Jacksonville facility transported other residents to Georgia, Orlando and the St. Petersburg area. 

As a Tallahassee native, Kate Payne grew up listening to WFSU. She loves being part of a station that had such an impact on her. Kate is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. With a background in documentary and narrative filmmaking, Kate has a broad range of multimedia experience. When she’s not working, you can find her rock climbing, cooking or hanging out with her cat.