BASTROP COUNTY -- Tuesday night at a Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team fundraiser, the Central Texas Red Cross announced they are donating $1.5 million to help build homes for 30 families displaced by the 2011 wildfires.
One of those families is Anne and Walter Pape. On Sept. 4, 2011, the day the Bastrop wildfire began, the Pape’s brand new, nearly-finished home was destroyed.
“It was 10 days before we could come back and see what was left of the house. You could see a pile of ash,” said retired special needs teacher Anne Pape.
Since their home was still under construction, Pape says insurance wouldn’t cover their losses, and they went bankrupt.
“We just said 'whoa, now what?' because we owed for things on it and everything else."
That's when FEMA and the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team stepped in to help.
“They helped to hook us up with people to help finish off this cabin so we could stay with it,” said Pape.
Pape says she couldn't be more thankful for the home: a 300-square-foot converted storage shed. However her husband Walter has kidney cancer and a stroke last year makes it hard for him to balance.
“I told him we really need to make something level so you can get in and out without hurting yourself."
Now near where their first house burnt down stands the beginning of a new home with plans for a ramp.
But building was delayed until Tuesday when the recovery team finally got more funding, a $1.5 million donation from the American Red Cross.
As Pape picks out her new wall colors and dreams of her own space once again, she says they can’t help but feel blessed.
“It’s like the tooth fairy you know. All of a sudden someone shows up and starts doing things and it's like okay, don't wake me up!”
More “tooth fairies” in the form of volunteers will finish the Pape's home by Thanksgiving.
Tuesday night the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team hoped to raise an additional $100,000, on top of the Red Cross donation, to finish 30 homes in all.
If you would like to make a donation toward the Red Cross, please click here.
If you would like to make a donation toward the Bastrop County Recovery Team, please click here.