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Then the tornado hit and everything else took back seat. Everything
including the hospital.
The hospital itself, of course, was busy doing its job. Busy treating
the injured, responding to the emergency.
Ask yourself today what would have happened last Friday night if there
had been no Reeves County Hospital. If the hospital had been shut down,
whether for political or financial reasons.
It's not possible, of course, to have a hospital in every small town
that might possibly one day have a disaster like a tornado. It should be
possible, though, to have a hospital in a county as large as Reeves.
It's possible if we really want it.
Wanting it means using it.
Friday night, 100 or more people used the Reeves County Hospital. Even
under that stress and strain, they received quality care. The hospital
did its job.
Now will we, as a community, do our job? Will we see that our doctors
have the facility they need in order to provide us with medical care?
Will we work to support a new hospital administration, rather than to
undermine it even before it begins?
Monday is June 1 - the beginning of yet another administration for
Reeves County Hospital. It will be the third management group this year.
Through it all, some dedicated and conscientious hospital employees have
held it all together, have kept intact the delivery of health services.
We appreciate these doctors and hospital staff members. Without them, we
might very well not have had a hospital at all last Friday night. We
hope now that our hospital is more firmly established than ever as a
vital part of our county's future.
The center, along with the Texas division of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA), is offering their services at the Saragosa
The C.A.R.E. program is scheduled to operate out of a mobile unit at the
disaster site for two months, according to FEMA spokesman Win Henderson.
Five bilingual counselors trained to deal with stress resulting from
catastrophic events are at the site and will visit each family affected
by the tornado, Henderson said.
Counselors will provide information to the tornado survivors on how to
recognize and handle severe stress and will help victims deal with the
loss of family friends and homes.
The C.A.R.E. program counselors are headed by Theresa Gonzales, MHC
director. The program is modeled after a program developed in Texas in
1986 and successfully used to help victims of the Sweetwater tornado.
As I watched, I saw pictures of anguish pour forth from decent, honest,
hard-working people who were struggling in cope with a disaster.
I know these few words can never cover your loss, but as I looked into
those wonderful faces of the people of Saragosa, I knew I was looking at
their very soul and I saw something that was positive among all the
carnage. There was a quiet determination, a resolve.
I know that Saragosa will rebuild and once again, children will laugh
and play in your town.
I want the people of Saragosa to know and always remember that there are
other Americans around the country who stand with you. You are not
alone. You are the kind of people that this country was built on. We are
pulling for you and know that you will make it.
May each and every citizen of Saragosa receive whatever they need to get
their lives in order.
ROBERT K. BARTOO
The cars were delivered by motor carriers working with the Texas
Automobile Association which donated 60 cars to Saragosa residents.
Shaw was in Saragosa and helped distribute the cars. Thirty-seven cars
were delivered to the site, but paperwork on the remaining 16 cars was
not complete, according to Shaw.
There is no cost to those who received cars, except for insurance, he
Names and numbers were drawn simultaneously from two boxes to determine
the recipients of the cars, which were numbered from one through 37. The
same will be given away, Shaw said.
PECOS, JUNE 4, 1987 - Reeves County Sheriff's deputies and Law
Enforcement Center jailers are gradually recovering from three
successive weekend emergencies.
"They're pretty much back on their regular schedule," said Sheriff Raul
Florez, "but they're donating eight hours a day of their own time - and
their own gasoline."
The sheriff's responsibility as disaster relief coordinator in Saragosa
ends Saturday, he said.
It will have been two weeks Friday since a tornado leveled the south
Reeves County community. "We'll still have the law and order
responsibility," he said, "but as for coordinating disaster relief and
cleaning up, that will end Saturday."
The May 22 tornado came one week to the day after a high school youth
drowned in the Pecos river.
Florez said his deputies worked "four solid days" trying to locate
17-year-old Ramiro Salazar who disappeared May 8 while swimming with
several other boys at 16-mile dam.
"We found him the fourth day about a hundred yards from where he went in
- a real deep hole in the river," Florez recalled.
The sheriff's department was still reeling form criticism from angry
friends and relatives of Salazar, who claimed law officers had not
searched at all, when two inmates escaped from the LEC.
It was on May 15 - the next Friday - that Isidro Villanueva Garcia, 26
and Leonel Martinez Lopez 24, broke out of the facility by loosening the
wires on a chainlink fence gate in the exercise yard.
In spite of a nationwide alert, they still have not been found, but are
believed to be in the South Texas area or possibly in Mexico.
They are suspected of being the assailants of a 35-year-old ranch hand,
Daniel Molinar, the Saturday morning at their escape.
Molinar was driving his boss' pickup slowly down FM 1216 when two men
jumped on the truck, forced him out, beat and stabbed him.
He was admitted to Odessa Medical Center that day and released May 29.
Friends said his condition has improved, but he still has not regained
speech or complete us of an arm.
Florez noted that the stabbing occurred in approximately the same area
as the drowning. He said he believes the escapees went up there on
purpose. "The inmates receive all kinds of media," he said. "It was the
only place around here they were familiar with.
"We put in some extra hours that night. All the deputies were called in."
"It was hard, very hard," said Florez. "They're putting their hours down
as eight hours work and eight hours volunteer."
Yet, it is not his deputies he praises so much as the survivors in
Saragosa. "I know one man who lost three members of his family," Florez
said. "He left them to help us find other people. Through his efforts he
helped us locate several other people because he knew where they were
supposed to be. We found all the dead within three hours."
PECOS, JUNE 4, 1987 - A temporary mobile home park will be set up in
Saragosa to house victims who were left homeless by the destructive
tornado that struck the town, according to Win Henderson, public affairs
officer of the Federal Emergency Management Agency office in Pecos.
The land was donated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Saragosa and
is designed for 40 pads, although 20 will be initially developed,
Ten mobile homes and five travel trailers are parked next to the Civil
Air Patrol office at the Pecos Municipal Airport waiting to be
distributed later this week to families who qualify, Henderson said.
Most of the families are currently staying with friends and relatives
around the area, according to Reeves County Community Council director
Survivors will be able to live in the homes until they decide what kind
of permanent housing they prefer, Henderson said.
FEMA has given monetary contributions to the victims who want to rent an
apartment temporarily and ti victims living with relatives and has
supplied trailers to those staying with relatives to relieve physical
restrictions, he said.
Henderson said FEMA is waiting for families to decide what kind of
housing they want, but about 93 people have applied for disaster
assistance and 80 qualify for family grants under the small Business
Administration Disaster Relief Office.
Seventy-five percent of the SBA fund is furnished by the federal
government and 25 percent is furnished by the state government but it is
entirely administered by the Texas Department of Health and Human
Services, he said.
"as of now the applications are in the system and we will know the
results of the housing and the results of the grants within the next
three to five days," Henderson said.
The FEMA office verifies every claim and then determines the amount of
money for replacement of the property that was lost, he said.
The FEMA office in Balmorhea is scheduled to close today at 6 p.m. but
FEMA representatives will remain at the site until mid-July, according
The Salvation Army has also continued its service since the tornado
struck, and since Monday has given over $2,000 in cash to tornado
victims, Maj. Neil Saunders said.
The money has been used to pay for transportation, medical and other
costs, he said. The Salvation Army will remain in Saragosa for about
three more months, he said.
Red Cross volunteers, working with all other organizations, has met the
immediate needs of the survivors and is now waiting for the survivors to
choose from several options which are available to them, according to
Red Cross public affairs officer Susan Clowe.
The Red Cross has also paid for funerals and medical costs of victims
who were not insured and were unable to pay themselves, she said.
"We are now into what we call the additional assistance phase," Clowe
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