Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 @ 10:29AM


Last week, I announced that the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will be handling our community’s case management for at least the next year, and hopefully through the end of our recovery.  In disaster recovery circles, UMCOR is the best in the business, and we’re blessed to have them guide us through the next phase of our recovery.  While Crisis Counseling is the community’s primary need at this stage, Case Management is arguably THE MOST CRITICAL aspect of an individual’s recovery moving forward into long-term recovery.  How do you know if you have a case file?  Call Nikki Leverton at 817-995-2147, and she will tell you.  You may have visited the Red Cross table at the Joint Assistance Center (JAC) in the days immediately after the explosion, or perhaps you registered at FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) and spoke with a representative of St. Vincent De Paul, Catholic Charities or Lutheran Social Services, it would be a good idea to call and make sure, especially if you DIDN’T do any of those things.  Why is this so critical?  Many aspects of Disaster Recovery are well documented and proven.  Our community is unique, and so was our disaster.  But the avenues to our recovery are well trod, and we need to rely on the experts to help us through this.  As defined in the Disaster Case Management Guidebook1, “Disaster Case Management is a tool to provide assistance to those impacted by disasters, by providing a case Manager who is knowledgeable about disaster recovery and can assist the individual or household create a plan to achieve realistic goals for recovery.  A Case Manager will be assigned to each situation and will work with Clients to identify their unmet needs, develop a recovery plan and seek aid and resources to return their life to the “new normal.”  The “new normal” is a concept that emergency managers use to describe a survivors life following a disaster.”  It’s through Case Management that you may discover additional monetary assistance that would not have been available to you without having a case file.  We suspect there could be millions in FEMA assistance that will go unused, money we have all paid in to the system, if we don’t fully explore the process to qualify for those funds.  Please be sure you get to know your case manager and let them help you determine if there’s additional funds you may not have been aware of.  They are the best to identify your unmet needs and help you develop your recovery plan.  You do not have to tackle this process alone.

By the end of this week, charitable demolition will be done.  We are so thankful to Strike for their contribution to our community.  Holt Cat also deserves a big thanks, as does RDO Equipment, and all the guys who donated their time to giving us the ability to see past the destruction.  If you’re a homeowner and you still have rebar or other scrap metal lying around, the West High School Band will take it off your hands as part of their on-going fundraiser.  Call the LTRC at 826-7550 and we’ll connect you.

West Best Smart Kids Camp began this week at the West Church of Christ from 5:30 – 7 PM Tuesdays for K-5th and Thursdays for 6-12th.  This is the educational module of the grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service through MCC and Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).  The camp is intended to help ALL West students overcome the possible learning challenges and disruption caused by the disaster.  Even if you missed registration, you can still participate.  Call Kate at 254-479-0729 for more information.

Thank you to The SoupMobile for the $20 of free gas!  Lines were long, but the love was felt as residents were able to get a little relief through this wonderful organization.

As mentioned earlier, crisis counseling is a critical need for our community, and we have the FREE Family Support Services Center at 222 N. Main St. at our disposal.  Please make note of their NEW HOURS:  10 AM – 4 PM M-F and a NEW PHONE NUMBER:  254-405-9820.  They have individual and family services for children and adults.  Walk-ins are welcome!  FREE group sessions going on now!  For phone sessions, call Maggie at 254-640-7401.

Mondays – 1 PM -3 PM for 5 weeks:  “Why Try” for children in Jr. High

Tuesdays – 6 PM – 8 PM for 4 weeks:  “Love and Logic” for parents

Wednesdays – 1 PM – 3 PM for 5 weeks:  “Why Try” for High School teens

Thursdays – 7 PM – 8:30 PM all summer:  Don’t miss this group session “Coping with Anxiety and Trauma” (English/Spanish) hosted by Dr. Jim Ellor, Professor, Baylor School of Social Work.

Two on-going challenges face any Long-Term Recovery team, and we are working hard to overcome them.  One is the distribution of donated goods.  In an effort to best serve the community, we will periodically publish the items most available.  You will be required to have your information on file at the LTRC (this is separate from a Case Management file), and we will require proof of eligibility (most often a Driver’s License).  With a complete resident file, you can call in a work order or requisition for the following:  Baby Food, Baby and Adult Diapers, New Clothing (available to residents who lost everything).  Please indicate size and gender, specific needs, etc.  We will do our best to provide you with items you can use.  Bed items, towels, bar soap, HEB Bravo washing powder, new pillows.  If you still need a mattress, please call us.  If you’re waiting for a full size, we won’t be getting anymore at this time.  The mattress donor has shipped the last truckload, and we’re grateful for their generosity.

The second challenge we constantly grapple with is communication.  We mainly use the newspaper, FaceBook, and our Website to keep you informed.  Soon, we hope to use email and community flyers.  If you have another creative solution to the communications problem, we’d like to hear it.  Call or email us at info@westltr.org.

Coming soon:  Wisdom of West, Family Information Night and Ice Cream Social, Health Fair, and many other events!

Your Long-Term Recovery Center is located at 218 N Main St. next to the Czech American Restaurant.  254-826-7550.  Hours are 8:30 AM to 5 PM M-F and 9 AM too Noon on Saturday or by Appointment.  For updated information, please go to www.westltr.org or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WestLTR.

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