American Red Cross Gives $295,000 to West, Texas Recovery Effort

The American Red Cross of Central Texas is giving an additional $295,000 to West, Texas for crisis counseling, property clean-up and more.

Austin, Texas, September 6, 2013 — The American Red Cross of Central Texas today announced the allocation of $295,000 to aid in the recovery of West, Texas. The additional funding will be used for clean-up, counseling and community-building events for individuals and families affected by the April fertilizer plant explosion, which took the lives of 14 people, injured 210 people, and damaged 341 homes.

While most immediate physical and material needs are being met by current programs, the community of West remains torn apart by this disaster. Many homes and community centers linger in disrepair, and people are scattered throughout the region, unable to resume day-to-day activities that are essential to the psychological recovery process. Senior citizens were especially impacted, as the town’s nursing home was completely destroyed in the explosion.

“West is a small tight-knit town with deep roots,” said Mark Felton, Executive Director, American Red Cross Heart of Texas Chapter. “One of the essential components of recovery is to address the longer term psychological effects of disaster and provide opportunities to heal.”

The Red Cross funding will be used to support the following programs for up to three years:

  • Crisis counseling to mitigate post-traumatic stress and promote long term health
  • Regularly scheduled gatherings for seniors, including the development of a “Wisdom of West” program in which volunteers will record the stories of West’s oldest residents
  • Assistance with property clean-up, demolition of damaged structures and replacement of household appliances.
  • “We are especially proud to be implementing the ‘Wisdom of West’ program, which will honor the senior population and capture the unique history of this town for future generations,” Mark Felton said. “After suffering a tremendous loss, people will be given a renewed sense of togetherness as they explore the past and rebuild toward a strong, resilient future.”

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.