Back Home and open for business
Collie Lehn, board chairman of Bailey Manor Christian Retirement Community, with his wife Joy, center left, and Administrator Rita Stanley, center right, cuts a Laurens County Chamber of Commerce red ribbon today in celebration of the community's re-opening.
Bailey Manor was damaged extensively by a fire in August, 2014, and Lehn said "every square inch of this building" has been renovated for the comfort and security of the residents. Clinton Department of Public Safety and Laurens County first responders who saved Bailey Manor 19 months ago were among the attendees at this afternoon's ribbon cutting event.
Tonight (March 3), at 6 pm, Bailey Manor's residents and staff are inviting everyone in for a gala celebration. Music, refreshments, tours and fellowship will be part of the program for the gala. Many Bailey Manor residents who survived the fire have moved back into their home, and residents are coming in daily.
SC Gov. Nikki Haley and her husband Michael sent a personalized letter to Bailey Manor saying, "It's a great day in South Carolina," when the Bailey Manor residents could moved back home. Clinton Mayor Bob McLean presented an official City of Clinton proclamation of congratulations, and Chamber CEO Greg Alexander presented the Lehns and Stanley with Chamber board proclamations thanking them for the work that had brought Bailey Manor back to live.
On Aug. 27, 2014, Bailey Manor resident Alton Payton crashed his car, allegedly on purpose, through the double front glass doors of the retirement community. First responders pulled Payton from the wreckage and saved his life. The Bailey Manor staff evacuated the residents, most of whom were in an activity in the dining room, out of the burning community in 8 minutes. There were no life-threatening injuries, some people were treated for smoke inhalation.
Payton will not face criminal charges. A judge has ruled he is not competent to stand trial and participate in his defense, and he will be held in a secure mental facility until he is able to stand trial for attempted murder. No motive for Payton's alleged attack on the community where he lived has been determined.
The restoration price tag for Bailey Manor has topped $1 million. Lehn said the retirement community - in Clinton's former Bailey Hospital - is now "affordably luxurious."