2012-12-20 / General Stories

Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team

The Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team has received a $150,000 grant from Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative to help rebuild homes destroyed during the 2011 Bastrop County Fires.

The Long Term Recovery Team is a non-profit organization that, together with several partners, has helped uninsured and underinsured low income Bastrop County residents who lost their homes in the wildfires. With support from residents, businesses and faith-based organizations from Texas and across the United States, the group has received $1.2 million to rebuild, finish out and support other home-restoration projects.

Bluebonnet’s grant will be paid in annual installments of $50,000 and will not impact the co-op’s other charitable donations.

“The work of the Long Term Recovery Team is vital to both the economic and the emotional healing of Bastrop County,” said Mark Rose, Bluebonnet’s general manager.” I have witnessed this first hand touring homes and visiting with homeowners. Our goal with this fundraising effort is to provide the Long Term Recovery Team resources that help sustain this challenging and inspiring effort.”

Fifteen months after the wildfires, the Recovery Team has helped with the rebuilding of 33 homes, the replacement of three manufactured homes and 16 additional homes that are under construction. Beginning this month, six more homes and numerous construction projects have been funded as well.

“It has been a huge undertaking and we couldn’t have done it alone,” said Christine Files, President of the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team. “The work that Mennonite Disaster Services, Christian Aid Ministries, the NOMAD’s and numerous volunteers from all over the United States, Canada and Mexico have done and continue to do is absolutely phenomenal.”

Bluebonnet also contributed to the Long Term Recovery Team’s Night of Hope fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa on Sept. 4, the one-year anniversary of the fire. The event was “a huge success,” Files said, and it netted more than $225,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. “We are using 100 percent of the proceeds from this fundraiser to fund rebuilds and finish out projects,” said Files.

Janice Butler, executive director of the Recovery Team, lost her home during the fires. “It’s pretty remarkable what’s happening in our community,” she said. “It is very humbling to watch and experience.”

“The good news is that funds are still coming in and that means more houses can be rebuilt,” Files said. “The bad news is, we need more.”

On average, it costs $50,000 to rebuild a home. The family contributes as much money as they can and the Recovery Team covers the rest. The Team established a wedding registry on amazon.com under the name “Bastrop Wildfire” in an effort to get much-needed tools and supplies to continue rebuilding.

Yes, that is the first and last name of our bride: Bastrop Wildfire, Files said.

“So while doing your Christmas shopping, we really would appreciate it if you would buy us a gift that will keep on giving,” said Kate Johnston, volunteer coordinator for the recovery team.

To donate or to volunteer in the recovery, visit www.bcltrt.org.

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