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PECOS, MAY 29, 1987 - Two committees were established and a massive fund
and assistance sign-up was set for Saturday in a meeting of Saragosa
relief workers on Thursday.
Bob Broussard, coordinating Federal Emergency Management Agency Funds to
Saragosa, promised "unlimited amounts" of temporary housing and grants
to Saragosans who apply and qualify for the assistance.
Tornado victims may apply Saturday at Balmorhea school for temporary
housing and individual or family grant assistance programs. They will be
notified in four days of what they will be getting, and could be in a
trailer home or a rent house with a grant of up to $5,000 per family or
individual in another five days, Broussard said.
FEMA officials also through this weekend will be assessing the needs of
the community, which was destroyed in a tornado one week ago today.
Within the next two weeks, FEMA will have a list of its funds and of the
needs it cannot meet, Broussard said.
That's when Red Cross will set its projected budget, based on what has
already been spent along with the needs that FEMA can't cover and Red
"Red Cross will meet any uninsured medical or funeral needs," said Red
Cross director of Saragosa relief operations Dan Wagener.
Wagener said Red Cross has already seen about 75 families, each with an
average four members, from the Saragosa area.
Local officials urged Red Cross to let them know what people have been
seen, what medical needs have been met, and what other needs may still
Department of PUblic health nurse Thelma Lawrence noted that "a lot" of
people who were treated in emergency rooms after the tornado are not
getting needed follow-up medical care.
Don Jeffreys, interim pastor at Balmorhea First Baptist Church, said
the many items that have been donated and are available at the Balmorhea
schools are not being requested or distributed as they should.
Many at the meeting Thursday expressed the need for relief groups to
work together, but Balmorhea schools superintendent Bob Clanton put it
"Who is in charge?" he asked. "There's got to be somewhere down the line
where the buck stops - where it eventually gets down to the people
getting what they need and want."
"We need to set up long-range plans for Saragosa," said Mary Mitchell,
director for the Reeves County Community Council. "NOt just in
re-building their homes, but helping them to rebuild their lives."
Pecos First Baptist Church pastor Gary Boyd noted that the time will
come "when the dust settles, everyone goes home, and the camera lights
go off," and he assured Saragosa that area churches will continue their
All the local groups agreed to make joint effort on the financial relief
that will supplement what FEMA and Red Cross can't do.
Mrs. Mitchell and Pecos Ministerial Fellowship president David Bugg had
been asked to man distribution of all funds under the Pecos-based
Saragosa Relief Fund. On Thursday, they were assigned some new committee
members to further assure joint efforts among relief workers.
New leaders of the Saragosa Relief Fund are Jim Ingham of the First
Baptist Church, Father Ralph Berrenger of the Saragosa and Balmorhea
Catholic churches, Red Cross voluntary agency liaison Bobbie Wolliver,
and Saragosa resident Braulia Natividad.
Saragosa resident Thomas Martinez and Reeves County Precinct 3
commissioner Ismael Dutchover will appoint three others to work with
them on a construction and rebuilding committee, also established
The committee will coordinate donations of material and labor as well as
needs and requests of Saragosans in rebuilding their community.
Mrs. Natividad said housing requests from some Saragosans may be for
locations in Balmorhea or Pecos.
"Some people don't want to rebuild or stay there," she said. "There are
too many memories."
PECOS, MAY 29, 1987 - Aid to the Saragosa tornado victims is still
coming by truck, mail and from local residents like the Reeves County
Sheriff's Posse, which will sponsor a barbecue Saturday to raise money
for the victims.
The posse, along with local feedyards and stores, will sponsor the
barbecue, beginning at noon at the posse barn, according to posse
corporal Rick Lauderdale.
The cost of a plate of barbecue will be $4.50 per plate and $5 per pound
on take-out orders. All money is to be donated to the Saragosa Relief
Fund, he said.
And in the tradition of Live Aid and Band Aid, local residents have
organized Saragosa Aid to also raise money for the victims, according to
A group of three bands is scheduled to perform a variety of music at the
Reeves County Civic Center on Saturday from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m., Roman
Roman's Hystyle Band, formerly known as MARO, and two Odessa bands,
Willie Mendoza and Viejo Amigo, will donate their services. All proceeds
from the event will be contributed to the Saragosa Relief Fund.
The Salvation Army is still keeping up its tradition of sending aid with
its plans to send 10 tons of donations on two trucks which are scheduled
to arrive in Midland today, according to Major Avedis Kasarijan of San
The trucks are loaded with clothing, bedding household items and food
which will be items and food which will be warehoused and distributed
from Odessa and Midland to the Saragosa tornado site, Kasarijian said.
Disabled veterans who were in the tornado and need assistance form the
Disabled American Veterans organization are asked to call (806) 743-7254
and have the VA claim number or social security number ready, according
to a DAV telegram.
The DAV offers veterans assistance under the DAV Disaster Relief Fund
and helps provide people with food, shelter and clothing. Any assistance
under this fund does not need to be repaid, according to the DAV.
Like many generous communities, the city wide-effort in Huntsville
native Jack Robbins, who has been in Pecos all week. Money is being
collected at Huntsville banks and other banks around that area.
Huntsville banded together and sent two tractor trailers, a bob-tail
truck and a truck pulling a 24-foot gooseneck trailer which were all
loaded with food, clothing and household items, Robbins said.
The loaded trucks arrived last Saturday and Thursday Robbins was waiting
to hear from Huntsville lumber companies which were going to donate
lumber and building materials.
Two men from Dallas who attended a meeting of relief workers Thursday
offered to build 15 to 20 adobe homes at Saragosa.
T.D. Rolan said they have a special machine to make the adobe brick,
which is known for its endurance. He said they have had experience in
working with disaster situations such as Saragosa.
"We brought with us a briefcase full of money," he said. "We came down
here to build a town."
PECOS, MAY 29, 1987 - Amid the wind-blown dust stirred by bulldozers,
trucks and disaster relief vehicles at Saragosa sits a bright white U.S.
postal service mobile home.
Saragosa postmaster John Thornton is open for business, and through it's
been slow, he expects things will pick up soon."
"Right now, people are too busy dealing with their own losses or they
may be displaced in another town," Thornton said. "IT will take a while
for things to get back to normal."
The 42-year-old has worked for the postal service in various cities off
and on for 21 years. Thornton was a mail carrier in Odessa when he was
asked to become postmaster in the small farming community of Saragosa.
"I had always looked forward to being a postmaster, and I was surprised
how much I enjoyed being in Saragosa.
"But I never expected all this to happen," he said.
Thornton and postal officials from Pecos, Midland and Abilene last
weekend began sifting through the pieces of wood and concrete that was
once the U.S. Post Office building in Saragosa. They moved in a small
portable unit Tuesday morning - just in time to open for business after
the Memorial Day "holiday."
"We've all got to pick up and go on," he concluded. "And that's the way
I think most people will be around here."
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