ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – Some of the April 28th storm victims are still in motel rooms tonight. While there are reports a few of the motels in the area raised their rates as soon as the storm hit, we found one that actually lowered theirs. The Sleep Inn Motel actually offered more than just a place to sleep.
When the storms rolled into Limestone County on April 28th, a storm of a different kind rolled into area hotels, hundreds of the suddenly homeless.
“Our general manager dropped our rate to $49. And once everybody kinda got word of that, we kinda got just stormed with people needing a place to stay,” says Sleep Inn employee Andrea Turner.
Turns out a place to stay wasn’t all that many of them needed. Some showed up with only the clothes they were wearing.
“A lot of people that were here, this far into Athens, couldn’t afford gas money or didn’t have a vehicle to get out to where the free food was in Clements.”
So for the first few days, all some of the guests had to eat was the free breakfast the hotel offered. Seeing this, Andrea, her co-workers and even her family all made certain that hot meals were delivered to the motel each day. And they’re still doing that.
“We have people staying here that honestly, if we didn’t do, through the donation account, or I didn’t promise my owner and sign away my paycheck for the next so many months to take care of their room or whatever, they honestly would have no where to go,” Turner told WHNT News 19.
Denise Leone has witnessed the hotel’s generosity first hand. Her mobile home was among those destroyed at Billy Barbs Trailer Park. “It’s just been amazing that she’s trying to coordinate to make sure that the people that were victimized by the tornados are taken care of,” Leone says.
Because the worst of times often reveals the best that people can be.
Andrea says several churches and relief organizations have stepped up to help pay for several guests to be able to stay in the hotel until they can make other arrangements. If you’d like to help, an account has been set up through Compass Bank. At Athens locations you merely need to tell them it’s for the Sleep Inn Motel storm victims. At other locations, the account name is Vaak LLC, and the account number is 6723527056.