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PECOS, JUNE 30, 1987 - The Salvation Army has been issuing purchasing
orders for furniture and household goods to Saragosa tornado victims who
are rebuilding their homes.
About $16,000 has been donated to the Salvation Army for relief to
Saragosa since the May 22 tornado, Ralph Lennon, field representative
for the organization, said today.
Lennon said as people begin to rebuild their homes, they are in need of
appliances, furniture and other items.
The Salvation Army has been sending purchase orders to appropriate
stores to meet those needs as they are requested and cleared by the
Reeves County sheriff's office in Saragosa, he said.
The Salvation Army has also set up office in Saragosa and has been
distributing clothing, food and furniture from its warehouse in
Balmorhea, Lennon said.
"We will stay in Saragosa as long as we are needed," he said today.
Also for homes being rebuilt in Saragosa, Catholic Charities, Diocese of
El Paso, has donated 20 septic tanks through its Saragosa Relief Fund.
A spokesman for the organization said today that leaders will be looking
into helping more families in other ways in the future. He said Catholic
Charities has been keeping track of needs as they arise.
Catholic Charities is part of the Diocese of El Paso, which set up
relief fund for Saragosa.
Vehicles previously promised by the Texas Department of agriculture to
Saragosa tornado victims will be distributed this week.
Reeves County sheriff Raul Florez has tentatively planned to distribute
the vehicles in Pecos after the parade on Wednesday.
The TDA has transferred ownership of five used vehicles and will do the
same for six other wars and trucks in the near future, according to that
Meanwhile, in Saragosa, Project C.A.R.E. has set up activities and
counseling schedules for children and adults.
A recreation activity center at both Saragosa and Balmorhea will provide
children and young teens a chance to be together and receive counseling
In Saragosa, the center opened at the park on Friday and will be
available from 6:30 to 9 p.m. each Friday. In Balmorhea, the center will
open today at the park across from the housing authority and every
following Tuesday night.
For adults, Project C.A.R.E. has organized group counseling sessions to
begin Thursday with child care provided. The sessions will be held every
Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Balmorhea Catholic Center.
For more information on these Project C.A.R.E. programs, call 375-2559.
A Harlingen man who came to Saragosa as a volunteer with the Southern
Baptist Convention Disaster Relief has been hired to assist Reeves
County Commissioners Court and recently hired by the Permian Basin
Regional Planning Commission, which is in charge of some $200,000 in
funds to place or retrain jobless in Saragosa.
Galindo has received a on-year leave of absence as executive to the
president of the Valley Baptist Academy to conduct his new duties as
assistant disaster coordinator for the Saragosa community, Pigman said.
His job responsibilities include coordinating all agencies on the
Saragosa site, Reporting to Pigman, in addition to providing written
monthly progress reports, and providing coordination and linkage with
Saragosa's rebuilding committee.
Galindo will also be working with local Job Training Partnership Act
officials in providing employment and training opportunities for
Saragosa residents. Pigman said 30 to 35 residents will benefit from the
funds provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The Texas General Land Office is currently surveying Saragosa for home
re-building that is predicted to start full-scale in mid-July, Pigman
said. The surveying service is being conducted free of charge, he said.
PECOS, JULY 2, 1987 - Texas Department of Agriculture officials were in
Saragosa today to begin a needs assessment of the area to help get the
community on its feet economically.
Meanwhile, three retired TDA station wagons given to the Reeves county
sheriff's office will soon be delivered to Cruz Rodriguez, Laticia
Martinez and Myles Berdan, whose homes and possessions were demolished
in the May 22 tornado through Saragosa.
The cars were picked up in Austin by sheriff's deputies, jailers and
Pecos police officers who drove there in a Surburban donated by Colt
Chevrolet for that purpose, said Reeves County Sheriff Raul Florez.
Seven more used TDA vehicles will be made available to other Saragosa
tornado victims who have not yet been named, Florez said.
"These are people who are on our primary list - who lost their vehicles
and have not had them replaced yet by other donations of cars and
trucks," Florez said.
"The department of agriculture has been in Saragosa since the second
morning after the tornado," he noted. "They have seen these people and
know their needs."
The department plans to continue operations of its command post in
Saragosa through Aug. 15, said Luis Mata, district supervisor.
Jack Stallings Jr., agriculture development specialist, came from Austin
to begin a needs assessment of Saragosa and its lost farm land. He also
will be working with the Saragosa Re-Building Committee in developing an
agriculture-based economic development project for the future of the
Also Thursday, the school board pledged to work with Reeves County
juvenile authorities in providing continued education for detainees
here, though again no formal agreement was made.
Reeves County Community Council director Mary Mitchell asked the board
for the land for the community center, which would be a permanent
facility to house Head Start and other needed but previously unavailable
programs in Saragosa.
She said the Meadows Foundation has expressed interest in funding the
building of the 5,000 square foot masonry structure that would be
located near the site of the old Saragosa school house.
The building would allow preparation and service of meals to elderly
Saragosans and Balmorheans, as well as room for a medical clinic and
co-op day care center. Parking space and a large fenced-in playground
area would surround the community center, Mrs. Mitchell said.
P-B-T acting superintendent H.L. Ramsey inquired about legal
ramifications in giving the land to the community council for the next
Board members voted their support of giving the land, pending legal
documents that will be worked out.
Indeed, help to Saragosa continues as some volunteer workers move out
and others move in.
The Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran School in Canoga Park, Calif.,
recently sent its check to the Trinity Luthern church here to distribute
to the community of Saragosa.
Steve Smith and Bob Hataway came form the First Baptist Church in Euless
to Saragosa looking for a project that Smith's single adult church could
They are ready to minister to Saragosa" by "rolling up our sleeves,"
Art Gaddy of Baird has been doing just that since the first fewdays of
the tornado. The gray-haired jack-of-all-trades has nearly completed a
new community building for Saragosa virtually by himself.
"I came here after that first day - like others - with clothes and
food," Gaddy said. "But they had so much of that, I wanted to give them
something they could use.
"I also wanted to see if I could do it, I guess," Gaddy said, smiling.
Materials for the center were donated by construction companies in
Abilene and other areas. The foundation was laid on June 13, and the
building will be finished by the end of this month.
"I should've been done a week ago, but it's been slow going by myself
most of the time," Gaddy said.
He said trustees from the Reeves County Jail have been helping recently,
and a volunteer from Abilene, Terry Maxwell, joined him this week in the
"I do need some PVC pipe and fittings for these bathrooms," Gaddy said.
The metal frame building will have storage in addition to a relatively
large meeting room and bathroom and shower facilities.
The building is located at the baseball field in Saragosa and will be
used for various activities, including - at least temporarily - Head
A publisher in Monroe, La., has also done his part in helping Saragosans
since he established "Operation Our Turn" to join the two communities.
Garland Shell sent $4,000 and five semi-tractor loads of food, toys,
supplies, furniture and appliances, according to Sandy Kelly at the
Reeves County sheriff's office in Saragosa.
The toys were given out on June 27, when about 80 Saragosans and their
children went to Balmorhea City Park for a picnic lunch, Mrs. Kelly said.
Ann Barnes of Pecos has manned her own "toy drive" for the children of
Saragosa. New or good used toys are still being collected in this effort
at the Best WEstern Sunday House or the Petroleum Club, where Mrs.
Also still working for Saragosa is the American Red Cross, which
recently issued a report of its activities in the area.
After the tornado, 62 people were housed for three days in an emergency
Red Cross shelter. Adults and children of 131 families received
emergency assistance including food, clothing, household items, medical
supplies and replacement of occupation tools and supplies.
Red Cross nurses have worked with 150 people who have had
disaster-caused illnesses or injuries, and volunteers have served 21,
112 meals to victims and workers.
The Red Cross plans to stay in Saragosa and continue assistance "until
the affected families' normal way of life has been restored," according
to the report.
Red Cross with the information it has gathered reports that the tornado
killed 30 people and destroyed 61 homes, caused major damage to 13 and
minor damage to 16.
The American Legion was also on hand days after the tornado, with more
than $3,450 that had been raised by those attending the Fourth District
Convention on May 23. Legionnaires and auxiliary members came to
Saragosa to distribute the funds on a local basis, according to reports.
The funds will be distributed according to need by the Pecos Jaycees,
according to Karen London of Allstate.
Mrs. London, Leo Puente and Greg Hammer of the company went to Saragosa
on Thursday to present the money, which was donated by Allstate
employees in Dallas, Fort Worth, Lubbock, Amarillo, Tyler, Midland and
The seven families who will benefit were policy holders of Allstate car
insurance at the time of the May 22 tornado. Not all of them submitted
claims after the disaster, but they did suffer other losses and damages,
Mrs. London said.
Those who will be receiving the aid are Tomas and Maria Lopez, Frank
Fuentes, Ynes Contreras, Jesus Mendoza, Manuel Mendoza, Martin Lopez
Baeza, and Ernest and Usela Bordayo.
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