Kentucky

Morgan County hospital celebrates restoration five months after tornado

Michelle Whitt,  Respiratory Therapist,  lead one of the tours during the Grand Opening of  the newly repaired and renovated Morgan County ARH hospital in West Liberty which suffered major tornado damage last March photographed  on Monday August 13, 2012 in West Liberty, Ky.  Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff
Michelle Whitt, Respiratory Therapist, lead one of the tours during the Grand Opening of the newly repaired and renovated Morgan County ARH hospital in West Liberty which suffered major tornado damage last March photographed on Monday August 13, 2012 in West Liberty, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff Herald-Leader

Morgan County ARH Hospital officials hosted a grand reopening Monday to celebrate the restoration of the tornado-damaged facility in West Liberty.

No patients or staff were injured in the March 2 twister but the second-floor windows were blown out, the roof was damaged, exterior doors were torn off their hinges and cars were demolished in the parking lot. Damages totaled nearly $4 million.

The hospital's emergency room never closed, but damage to the second floor of the hospital prevented inpatient admissions for several months.

After five months of work, the 150-employee hospital showed off its repaired facility on Monday. Following the morning ceremony, the hospital hosted an afternoon back-to-school bash in which local school children received free supplies, food and entertainment. The supplies were donated by employees associated with UK HealthCare.

"It has been said that stress, pressure and calamity act as a winnowing fan that brings out the true character of people, organizations and communities," said Steve Gavalchik, community CEO for the hospital, in a statement. "I would never wish an experience like this on anyone, yet I know I was given a very special honor and blessing, because through it I got to see the very best of people."

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