When the EF-3 tornado devastated Nottingham Forest Mobile Home Park, leaving families with no where to go, Gaylord’s tourism and hospitality industry stepped up to help meet their basic needs.
Gaylord hotels like the Fairfield Inn & Suites are housing several of the displaced families from Nottingham Forest.
“We have one particular couple, they don’t have anything left,” said Eileen Tussey, general manager of Fairfield Inn & Suites of Gaylord. “They worked all their life. They wanted to have a nice little home to settle down in for the retirement years. And they were in their living room and a tree just demolished.”
Donations from all over the state are showing up at the hotel.
“We have some people that are donating locally that bring things here because we’re obviously open 24 hours a day as a good drop off facility. Then we bring it to the United Way or we take care of it,” Tussey said.
The Gaylord Area Convention and Tourism Bureau says the tourism industry has stepped up in a big way.
“It’s been amazing to see communities and Michigan rally around a community that’s hurting and struggling,” said Paul Beachnau, executive director of the Gaylord Area Convention and Tourism Bureau. “Honestly, I get a little emotional about it because it’s just been overwhelming.”
The Gaylord tourism industry wants people to know that despite the tragedy Friday, they are ready to welcome visitors.
“Fortunately, none of the golf courses in the area were affected,” Beachnau said. “None of the hotels were affected at all within 48 hours, the power was back. And all of those motels, our downtown is perfectly impacted or excuse me, our downtown is perfectly intact. Nothing’s been done there.”