As Goodwill Ambassadors, our General Managers and Local Management teams are among the first to answer the call when our communities need help with disaster relief efforts. This was exactly what Indian Mound Mall in Heath, Ohio was able to do in March 2020 when flash flooding hit Licking County in the midst of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
Heavy rainstorms pummeled Ohio overnight, leaving many Ohio residents to awaken to flooding in or near their homes. The situation in Licking County was dire. Severe flooding washed away part of a local highway and stranded many inside without power, forcing numerous residents to be evacuated from their homes.
To begin search and rescue efforts, the Licking County Emergency Management Agency needed to quickly find a place that wasn’t underwater to stage emergency equipment and deploy vehicles. Indian Mound Mall’s parking lot proved to be the best solution and Doug Berg, General Manager of Indian Mound Mall, quickly activated his team to support.
Indian Mound Mall was also able to serve as a shelter for flood victims and evacuees at a time when maintaining space between individuals was critical. Due to the size of the town center, it was able to comfortably house hundreds of residents, all at a safe social distance of 10 feet apart.
"Our mission [today] changed," Berg said. "Most of our retailers closed through the end of the month, which is actually a blessing in disguise today. People are spread out far and wide, at least 10 feet apart. We stayed open for this very reason, to be an emergency response center."
Upon hearing the news, several Indian Mound Mall tenants opened to help the evacuees, providing food, beverages and snacks. The trampoline park in the mall was even able to provide fresh, dry socks to evacuees, many of whom were soaked up to their knees or waists from the flood waters. Additional community partners also provided bagged lunches, boxed dinners, flood disaster buckets and volunteers.
With the ongoing pandemic, Indian Mound Mall was ready to offer its facilities to serve as a coronavirus testing site or a distribution center for medical supplies, echoing CEO Lou Conforti’s offer of all WPG’s properties to be a community resource. Because of its preparedness, the town center was able to be there for its community at a moment’s notice, during a time when it desperately needed it.
Click here for local news coverage.