It was an outing unlike anything the residents of a Lisle nursing home had ever contemplated.
Holding their medications and possessions, the 51 residents of Snow Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and about 20 staff members patiently awaited rescue from the facility on Route 53 that had become an island surrounded by a badly flooded parking lot.
Rescue crews from as far away as Big Rock used boats to ferry the residents and staff to safety as rising water continued to flow through the front doors, reaching near knee-level.
The rescued people were all reported to be doing well, following a late morning emergency evacuation that lasted into the afternoon.
Residents, many in beds and several in wheelchairs, were carefully placed in the rescue boats and taken to awaiting ambulances in the Lisle Police Department parking lot.
The residents were taken to local nursing and rehabilitation facilities throughout the suburbs. Snow Valley Administrator Stephen Brumer said family members of every resident had been notified of their well-being and location.
Several employees and rescue officials declined to be interviewed but confirmed the water was about "mid-calf-high" and "very cold" inside the 51-bed facility.
Big Rock firefighters Jason Holstead and Steve Weissinger were the first crew to respond with a rescue boat and were immediately dispatched to the nursing home. Once there, they made dozens of trips between the front door of the nursing home to the convoy of waiting ambulances.
"I haven't seen anything like this since the flood we had in Big Rock in 1996," Weissinger said. "Thankfully everyone was very patient and calm and allowed us to get them out safely."
Brumer, who was on scene and watching the rescues praised both his staff and the emergency crews.
"The staff did a great job and these emergency guys were superb," Brumer said. "I've been in this business a long time and I've never seen or had to do anything like this before. I think the dedication of our staff and community shines through more than ever in situations like this."
Brumer did not know the status of the facility's interior or when it would reopen,