February 2021 will go down in the record books as the snowiest month in Arkansas in the past century.
Those of us who have lived here for decades have never seen weather like this in the Village. We know many of our residents are from northern and midwestern states where this kind of weather is the norm. Our mild four-season climate is part of our appeal, but once in a century something like this is bound to happen. Many of our neighboring states in what is usually called “The Sunbelt” have been belted with snow, treacherous frozen roadways and loss of power and water. Hot Springs Village has weathered the storm better than most, and we have a lot of hard-working POA employees to thank for that.
Unlike communities that get pelted with snow every year, Hot Springs Village does not have a large arsenal of snow-removal equipment because it would be very expensive and rarely used.
Our dedicated staff has been working in shifts and will continue non-stop until all of our roads have been plowed. We expect this road-clearing work to be completed by Saturday afternoon.
Employees have been checking all buildings for leaks and to ensure the heat is on and faucets are dripping. Public Utilities workers performed utility repairs and helped transport staff in four-wheel-drive vehicles.
While all our restaurants were closed to the public, our tireless food and beverage employees worked the kitchen and dining room of the DeSoto Club to feed a warm meal to their colleagues who came inside from single-digit temperatures. DeSoto Club Sous Chef Laci Dickson and Food & Beverage Manager Bryan Garrett worked at DeSoto Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to cook for our dedicated employees, while other friends and POA staff pitched in to serve and clean up.
Kim Massey, Hot Springs Village POA Human Resources Manager, said, “My ‘aha’ moment came in seeing the commitment from our employees to ensure the job got done - no complaining, a lot of laughter and warm greetings among employees who were all trying to do the best job for the property owners and keep each other safe. I witnessed a true sense of team among employees, and that was refreshing. The jobs they do are often thankless, in horrible weather conditions like this week, but they tackle the work head-on and move forward. So many kudos!”
Massey, who pitched in and helped serve lunch to employees at DeSoto, added, “I heard stories on Tuesday about staff having to shovel through ten inches of snow to get to the water valve for shutoff. Other staff helped property owners who were stuck.”
Public Safety is ready and on high alert to respond to our members reporting emergencies. We’ve been lucky not to have any home fires, but welfare checks are also a big part of what these fine officers and firefighters do on a daily basis.
Our police department has responded to several visiting families in need, in some cases giving them their own food or bringing them food from Brookshire’s.
Personnel at our East and West Gates have kept these two main entrances manned and operational. POA employees have brought gate workers food and supplies.
We’re seeing a strong, hard-working spirit throughout our Village, not only from those who work for the POA, but from others who are working daylight to dark. Neighbors helping neighbors, and local businesses like JD’s Honey Do Service that have a long list of residential driveways to clean.
The sun will warm us soon – we’re forecasted to be 62 degrees by Tuesday – and the snow will melt. There will be a lot of cleanup and repair work to be done by those same dedicated POA employees who plowed the snow and helped to keep us all safe. Trash collection will resume next week. Our amenities, restaurants and other facilities will be open and operating as soon as possible: some as soon as Saturday, others (like our golf courses) needing more time to thaw out. Please be patient and thank these brave and dedicated working people when you see them.