October 05, 2021
If Mercy Hospital looks new, that's because it is. An EF5-rated tornado destroyed St. John’s Mercy Hospital on May 22, 2011.
Ten years later, the Regional Director of Facilities, Maintenance, and Operations for Mercy, Gerald Lawrence, reflects on that horrific Sunday.
He was at home, north of town when the tornado slammed the hospital. Upon arriving just a short time after the storm, he could not believe what he saw.
“The hospital was just in rubble. Cars were piled up against the hospital… they were stacked up against it, “ Lawrence said.
Lawrence had worked at that hospital since he was 18 years old. He saw doctors, nurses, and other staff immediately leap into action.
“You train for disasters. You don’t train for the hospital to be totally destroyed. You knew this wasn’t going to get put back together. It was just a really surreal feeling.”
Lawrence said they acted more heroic than ever.