By Jeff Brumley
First Baptist Church of West, Texas, will receive nearly $300,000 from a Baylor University fund established after the fertilizer plant explosion that partially flattened the city in April.
The money from the Baylor West Relief Fund will be used in the congregation’s continuing debris removal and home demolition campaign, which it has been coordinating since the explosion that killed 15 and damaged or destroyed around 150 homes.
In coordination with Texas Baptist Men, First Baptist has led the way in demolishing what’s left of condemned homes, work that has saved those property owners $15,000 to $20,000. Many of those homeowners have no insurance or are underinsured.
To date, FBC has provided the money for the demolition and TBM has provided some of the crews. So far nearly 60 homes have been demolished and the debris removed, with almost the same amount to go.
The city and its residents have also received monetary and volunteer help from other Christian organizations. In June, the Baptist General Convention of Texas coordinated a multi-denominational “Loving West” campaign in which more than 600 volunteers helped with some of the lighter debris removal and lawn care for affected properties.
In a news release, Baylor President Ken Starr said the $290,716 donation comes with the university’s commitment to participate in the long-term recovery of West.
“Our prayers remain with West, as residents continue to rebuild a community rightly acclaimed for its courage, strength and compassion,” Starr said.