After Tornado, Displaced Morning Pointe Senior Living Residents, Families Anticipate Rebuilding

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - by Amy Clarke
Pam Waters and her mother, Bonnie Frazier, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic
Pam Waters and her mother, Bonnie Frazier, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic

Excited, elated, ecstatic—ask any of the residents of Morning Pointe of Chattanooga at Shallowford, and they will all agree: words can’t describe how much they are looking forward to getting back to their home. 

Eight months ago, the assisted living community was heavily damaged by the F3 Easter night tornado. Its sister building down the street, The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence, Chattanooga, took a direct hit. In total, 130 residents were displaced.

With major renovations underway, the move-in date for Morning Pointe of Chattanooga is now on the calendar for November. “We are excited to go back,” says Pamela Waters with a smile. Her parents, Les and Bonnie Frazier, have called Morning Pointe of Chattanooga home for three and-a-half years. “It’s been great.” 

She remembers well the call from her father that Easter night. She rushed right over from her nearby home. “Everything was taken care of,” says Ms. Waters. Her parents stayed with her for two weeks and then settled into their new temporary home at Morning Pointe of East Hamilton in Ooltewah. “We are really impressed with Morning Pointe. They really have not let us down,” she adds. “Yes, we have been upset about the COVID visitation restrictions, but other than that, Morning Pointe has been top notch on everything. Moving the residents into homes in two weeks—it’s been pretty incredible. Kudos to them! And Emily, the community relations director, has kept us up-to-date with the rebuild. I never felt like I was out of the loop there.” 

Recent state mandate changes have now allowed Ms. Waters to visit her parents under certain conditions, as long as the building is COVID-free for a specified number of days. She is embracing these special times and counting down the days to the big move back to Morning Pointe of Chattanooga.

Like many Morning Pointe families, associates, and residents, all of these huge challenges and changes have reminded them of the value of what they had at their building on Shallowford Road and how much it really does add to the quality of their daily lives. They miss it there. They miss their Morning Pointe of Chattanooga family.

“My dad has really good friends there,” says Ms. Waters. “A majority of them are moving back. That will be really good for him. He has really missed that with COVID and everything. They just want to get back to where they have been for three years. It’s like family. I don’t say that casually. It really is like a family.” 

Originally from Austin, Texas, Les and Bonnie Frazier are longtime Chattanoogans after spending 22 years as missionaries in Japan. They have always had a close-knit family life. They have helped care for their grandkids. Mr. Frazier played golf regularly with his oldest grandson, and they are all used to seeing each other several times a week. With the Morning Pointe of Chattanooga move now so close, Ms. Waters believes that it will help her parents continue to deal with the pandemic restrictions. “They have had their world rocked with the tornado and COVID,” says Ms. Waters. “I think seeing those same friendly faces they have seen for three years will help them deal a little better, being with people who know them and love them.”

Ms. Waters’ parents have been married since age 16 and 17. In fact, they will celebrate their 71st anniversary in December! While her dad doesn’t need the same level of care her mom needs, he loves being with her at Morning Pointe, and he loves his life there. “This was their decision,” says Ms. Waters. “They didn’t want to live with us.” 

With only praise for the staff at both Morning Pointe buildings, Ms. Waters and her parents are ready to get their own family back together at Morning Pointe of Chattanooga. “The good thing is that they have kept them safe,” says Ms. Waters. “We are looking forward to being there, having family nights again, cornhole tournaments, and taking them out to eat. We are very excited!”

Morning Pointe of Chattanooga residents Les and Bonnie Frazier
Morning Pointe of Chattanooga residents Les and Bonnie Frazier

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