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By KAREN OGLESBY
SARAGOSA, June 17, 1987 - Generous donations of meat, eggs and other
food to the Reeves County Sheriff's office at Saragosa have fed
literally hundreds of people there each day.
A self-contained kitchen in a trailer was delivered to the site from the
city of Fort Worth about three days after the tornado hit Saragosa,
according to sheriff Raul Florez.
The trailer at that time was full of meat and bread for barbecue meals.
When that supply was depleted, donations of food from ranchers, stores,
restaurants, food banks and chuck wagon groups from all over Texas were
enough to keep up the pace of serving 1,200 meals a day to some: 400 to
500 homeless Saragosans and those working to clean up the 0 area.
As work at Saragosa continues but slacks off, the trailer now serves
breakfast and lunch to from 30 to 75 people. Red Cross, which also had
been serving three meals a day in Balmorhea and some in Saragosa, has
arranged to serve dinner at the tornado site, Florez said.
The sheriff's office at Saragosa has received just one major cash
donation $10 from Joe Cox in Wimberly. All other supplies have been food
either ready to cook or already prepared, said
B&B Wrecker of Pecos and Coors distributors in Fort Stockton have housed
food supplies, "and there's still plenty of food in there," Mrs. Kelly
Those who have been fed include state highway department workers,
sheriff's office and other law enforcement personnel, prisoners who are
transported from Pecos when needed to work in Saragosa, and the hundreds
of volunteers that have worked there, Florez said.
Perhaps one of the most generous donations of time has been that of
38-year-old Danny ~Dutchover of Balmorhea, who been given to individual
has worked all day nearly every day preparing and serving meals in the
"I got laid off from my job at the cotton gin, and I didn't have
anything else to do," he said.
Dutchover during the first two weeks was assisted by two jail cooks who
came from Pecos. But now that the need is not so great, he mans the
trailer meals by himself and relies on volunteer help during the busy
Mrs. Kelly said small amounts of either food or money have also been
given to individual Saragosans who come to the sheriff's office there
The homeless and the workers at Saragosa not only are being served
meals, but they also have bathroom and shower facilities.
Jaycees from Pecos and Fort Stockton built shower facilities at the
Saragosa site days after the tornado.
The facilities include two stalls, a water tank and a generator, and
allow from four to six to shower at any given time.
By KAREN OGLESBY
SARAGOSA, June 19, 1987 - The result of weeks of volunteer work for
Saragosa families came in a 45-foot trailer van that arrived from Austin
New clothes sorted and marked in box after box pots and pans and kitchen
utensils, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, furniture and toys
were part of a 35,000-pound load that was collected and packed up by a
coalition of churches calling itself Austin Cares.
"Sure, there's a lot of people who don't care these days," said Rev. Ray
Noble, bishop of the International Christian ~ Churches. "But this shows
just how many there are who still do care very much."
The truckload of goods was unloaded in a warehouse at Acid Delinters in
Pecos, which is serving just temporarily for storage.
A warehouse for Saragosa has been built in that community through funds
made available by Austin Cares, Reeves County Judge Bill Pigman said
Pigman is going to the Houston area next week to accept more funds from
the city of Friendswood, near the NASA Space Center.
In addition, he will be officially accepting a 40-by-60-foot steel
building being donated for a Saragosa Community Center by the Steel
Fabricators Association of Houston.
The foundation for that building will be poured with Saragosa Building
Committee funds. The community center should be ready for operation
within two weeks, Pigman said.
Noble said monetary contributions are still coming into Austin Cares and
may be enough to build a second warehouse for Saragosa.
A total exceeding $106.000 has been donated to the local Saragosa Relief
Fund at both Pecos banks. Mrs. Mitchell said about $30,000 of that has
been distributed so far, and another distribution has been set for 8
a.m. to noon Monday at Saragosa.
Nearly all of the $9,887 donated to the local Salvation Army fund has
In addition to those funds are accounts set up by Red Cross and various
churches, civic groups and individuals.
Information on those accounts is being withheld by bank officials,
though totals previously released indicate more than $115,000 has been
donated locally in addition to the monies to the Saragosa Relief Fund.
It was also previously reported that pledges to Red Cross' hotline after
the Saragosa tornado neared half a million dollars.
State and federal grants totaling $246,328 have been issued 64
Saragosans so far and more are expected.
The State of Texas is also paying the costs of establishing a mobile
home park to provide temporary housing for those whose homes were
damaged or destroyed by the tornado.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is providing mobile homes and
the Seventh Day Adventist Church donated the land for the park, which
should be completed this weekend.
Many, many local businesses also pitched in to help Saragosans and those
working to rebuild the community.
Water Depot had two refrigerated trailers at Saragosa for storing
perishable goods. One trailer is still there, housing food donations
still being received.
In Germany, we were informed via newspaper and TV about the terrible
disaster which occurred in May 1987 in your country. We were upset to
learn that the town of Saragosa in West-Texas was completely destroyed
by a tornado. What a terrible thing to happen.
We are sure that there must exist quite a number of people who have lost
all of their belongings and who are badly in need of help. This must
especially be the case with families, who have a number of children to
care for and who are endangered in their future existence.
Now, my question is: could you please tell me the name and address of
one of those families. I would like to help them.
Freiborg i. Br.
I have just read in our local newspaper about the disaster in the
neighbouring town of Saragosa. My heart goes out to the people of that
town and I would like you to please convey this letter to them if you
About ten years ago, the large city of Darwin in the state of Northern
Territory of Australia was entirely wiped out by Cyclone Tracey. Nothing
was left of the city and many people died, including children who were
just blown away and never found.
I don't know the effects of a tornado, but I do know what it is to be
touched by death, which in my case was to lose my daughter at 2 years of
The newspaper article mentioned people like Joe Gallego, bar owner,
Maria Muniz and her sons, Randy and Rene, and to these people, I would
like to say "Thank God" you were saved...
Know that one small person in one part of a big world is with you in
Hoping today is a brighter day for all.
SARAGOSA, June 18, 1987 - The same organization who helped in the
aftermath of the tornado in Sweetwater last year is now helping Saragosa
tornado victims pick up the pieces of their lives.
Project CARE, Coping and Re-establishing Effort, was organized through
the state hospital in Big Spring after the Sweetwater tornado. Though it
offers primarily counseling for any type of disaster, its only two
projects so far have been Sweetwater and Saragosa tornadoes.
"We will be here eight weeks maybe more if it is needed'' said Teresa
Gonzales, the CARE coordinator for Saragosa.
Mrs. Gonzales, a social worker for Reeves County's Mental Health-Mental
Retardation service, was asked to bring together residents who enjoy
working with people and would like to serve the CARE project.
In addition to herself and secretary Joanna Rodriguez of Pecos are four
"We give them some basic counseling and serve as problem-solvers in
referring them to agencies and people that can help meet their other
needs, " Mrs. Gonzales said.
"Those who need further counseling can be referred to professionals,''
The CARE workers are also landing out information about how to prepare
for the event of a tornado.
The information asks people to consider the number of family members and
plans for seeking safety for them and for pets.
CARE outreach workers Elia Estrada and Mary Lou Apodaca of Saragosa and
Margie Martinez and Hector "Tito" Roman of Pecos have been compiling a
list of tornado victims and where they have temporarily located.
"We go out and contact them to offer our assistance, " said Roman.
CARE expects to counsel or refer for counseling more than 50 Saragosa
tornado victims of all ages, Mrs. Gonzales said.
Group and individual counseling is available to adults, and CARE has
also organized a day activity program for children and teenagers for
their own type of group counseling.
Mrs. Gonzales urged anyone who might be interested in helping with CARE
to contact her. "We do need volunteers as many as possible who could
help us help these people."
On the state and federal level, Saragosa tornado victims have until July
27 to apply for disaster aid.
Saragosa was declared a major disaster area by President Reagan on May
26, four days after the small community was leveled by the tornado.
At last reports, 107 residents had applied for state and federal aid and
64 of those were approved cash grants totaling $246,328.
SARAGOSA, June 22, 1987 - Exactly one month after their homes were
destroyed in a tornado, at least four Saragosa families were moving back
About 30 families have been living in their homes there since the
tornado, which destroyed houses, buildings and farmland of about eight
times as many families, said Joey Herrerra, the governor's liaison for
"The others may have been a little afraid at first, to move back,"
Herrera said. "But this is where their roots are. We've been building
pads as the trailers are requested we're ready.
"And the people are ready," he said. "They want to move in. They want to
move back and start their lives over again."
Four families were moving into trailer homes today, and 34 more will
move back in the coming weeks.
Also in Saragosa today, items and cash were being given out in the
second major Saragosa Relief Fund distribution effort. In addition,
First National Bank officials from Pecos were on hand to set up checking
accounts and cash checks.
In Odessa today, a celebrity golf tournament at the country club was
going on to benefit the Saragosa Relief Fund. The tournament was
sponsored by the Mission Diego Country Club, Herrera said.
Another benefit an auction was to be held this afternoon in front of the
sheriff's office at Saragosa.
Jailer Sandy Kelly collected items for the auction, which she organized
aside from her job at the sheriff's office. Art Gaddy Co. out of Baird
was donating auctioneer expertise for the event, Herrera said.
The auction will help pay for gas and transportation of the many
volunteers who have been working at Saragosa, Herrera said.
PECOS, June 22, 1987 - Reeves County commissioners today voted to apply
for $449,000 in state community development funds for Saragosa.
Of that amount $35,000 is for salaries for year-long administrative help
in setting up the community, said Kay Howard of Gary R. Traylor &
Associates, a Lubbock governmental consulting firm, which has
volunteered to prepare the application for the county at no charge.
The resolution passed by the commissioners designated County Judge Bill
Pigman to act as chief executive officer in the development project.
Pigman said Manuel Galindo, a U.S. Department of Labor employee from
Harlingen, is overseeing the Saragosa rebuilding project, but that the
administrative funds can be used
to pay his local assistant and a secretary.
The basic grant money can be used by Saragosa tornado victims there to
buy mobile homes or to make a down payment on a home, said Howard.
The relocation assistance has to be distributed equitably and based upon
factors that are not easily disputable, she said.
The county will not be required A supply matching funds, she pointed
Work on the grant application would begin immediately after he
commissioners pass the resolution, she said, and an answer from TDCA is
expected by the middle of next week.
The Southern Baptist Convention has volunteered to build homes at
Saragosa after three conditions are met: completion surveying by the
General Land Office, installation of septic tanks and electrical
facilities, and on-site delivery of building materials.
In related business, the commissioners approved an addendum to their
contract with Circle S Mobile Homes of Mineral Wells that increases the
number of pads to 26 from 20.
The cost per pad of $3,050 remains the same, said Pigman.
In other business, the commissioners tabled action on a proposal to pay
for maintenance of LEC jailers' uniforms until their July meeting,
because they want to know how much more the cost would be if jailers at
the county jail were included.
LEC Controller Eddy Markham said jailers at the LEC have been required
to pay $26 per month for their uniforms since the building opened more
than a ear ago.
Commissioners were sympathetic to the request but said that they must
consider the county jailers as well.
Also concerning the LEC, Pigman said it had never been his intention
when the commissioners voted to adjust jailers' salaries upward in July
that employees with specialized skills and supervisory responsibilities
should experience cuts in pay as a result.
The problem arose, he said from the fact that job classifications at the
LEC are not clearly specified. Some persons classified as "jailers" are
actually shift supervisors, clerks or maintenance personnel, he noted.
County Clerk Catherine Ashley said the same problem exists in other
county departments. Pigman appointed a committee of Ashley, Markham,
County Attorney Scott Johnson, Chief Sheriff's Deputy Jim Collins, Pct.
1 Commissioner Felipe Arredondo and County Auditor Marguerite Davidson
to revise the employees' manual so that more detailed job descriptions
In other business, the commissioners:
*tabled action on setting up a separate retirement program for hospital
employees until after the hospital board considers the matter this
*accepted a bid - the only bid received - from American Fence Co. of
Midland to sell the county 80 rolls of concertina wire to be used at the
LEC and the 4-H barn for $29.90 per roll. However, they postponed buying
the wire immediately because of lack of money to pay for it.
*transferred $500 from the Toyah ambulance fund to Precinct 2 Peace
Justice J.T. Marsh's travel fund;
*voted to republish a notice of intent to issue $750,000 in certificates
of deposit for use in hospital operation through the remainder of the
year. Pigman reported that a financial firm had backed out of buying the
COs on the date before they were to be issued because "the amount was
too low." The new issue date is July 13, he said.
The Disaster Unemployment assistance program will pay benefits to
victims who have lost jobs or who are unable to work as result of the
tornado that struck Saragosa on May 22. Self-employed victims may
qualify for benefits as well as cases where the head of the household
died. Eligible victims may receive payments for up to one year.
The Texas Employment Commission has been processing claims at the Reeves
County Sheriff's Office in Saragosa each Friday beginning June 12 from 9
a.m. through noon.
Victims who think they may be eligible or who have questions should go
to the Saragosa sheriff's office or to the nearest TEC by June 30 to
file claims, said local TEC office manager Nancy McAnally.
Free legal services will be provided on Wednesday to tornado victims at
the Saragosa office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Conducting the services in both Spanish and English will be Alpha
Hernandez, David Riojas, and David Horton, attorneys for the Del Rio
office of Texas Rural Legal Aid, Inc.
Client interviews will be offered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and as
For more information, call 375-2537 or collect at (512)775-1535.
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Copyright 1997 Pecos Enterprise
324 S. Cedar, Box 2057, Pecos TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321