WEST (September 19, 2013)--More than five months after the deadly April 17 fertilizer plant explosion in West, tension is rising in the normally close-knit community over distribution of millions in donations, but an official says the money will soon flow.
Residents displaced by the explosion are still waiting on financial assistance from the Long Term Recovery Center, which was established to distribute the millions of dollars donated for relief and recovery.
The Waco Foundation recently transferred $1.7 million to the center, but to date, none of the victims has received a penny.
The Long Term Recovery Board’s president, Dr. Charles Matthews, resigned this week and was replaced by longtime auto dealer Ronnie Sykora.
Skyora said Thursday Matthews agreed to serve long enough to help the board get started.
Sykora acknowledged that tension is rising over the donated funds, but said, “it’s something we were taught happens after a tragedy like this."
“We are real close to being able to help people, and we should see some checks cut in the next several weeks,” he said.
The money can’t come too soon for lifelong resident Mandy Williams, 27.
She says she, her 73-year-old grandmother and her 4-year-old son will be moving into her car next week.
“The LTRC just needs to learn to show some love even at the front desk," she said.
Williams worked at the heavily damaged West Assisted Living Center near the fertilizer plant and lost her job after the explosion.
She said she hopes the town’s residents will come back together just like they did after the explosion, but said everyone needs to work on that.
Another $1.7 million in donations is deposited in the two main banks in West, and Sykora said Thursday he hopes those funds will also be released to the LTRC soon to be able to help more people.