Torres family receives new home through Citgo, other partners in recovery efforts

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February 4, 2019 | Steven Smith, Rockport Pilot

Through the combined efforts of the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group (CBDRG), Mennonite Disaster Services – Storm Aide (MDS), the Rockport Fulton Chamber Foundation, Coastal Bend Food Bank, and Habitat for Humanity of Aransas County through a donation by Citgo, Guadalupe (Lupe) Torres and her daughter Sylvia Combs received the keys to their brand new home Wednesday, Jan. 30.

Torres has lived on her property in Rockport for more than 60 years.

“I am very, very glad to finally be back in my own house,” said Torres.

Torres, Combs, and her grandson evacuated to Elsa, TX to stay with Torres’ brother while Harvey hit Rockport.

Combs returned after the storm to find their home severely damaged.

Torres stayed with her other daughters in Corpus Christi and Rockport while Sylvia and her son lived in a relatives travel trailer next to their old home for more than a year. While her mother was away and living with her daughters, Combs searched for help online day and night.

Combs was able to find help online through Habitat for Humanity of Aransas County. Habitat for Humanity of Aransas County Executive Director Patty Butters was able to help Combs find assistance.

However, the process was long and arduous for the family.

After the roof had been replaced in the old home, the family went through five contractors that deemed that the house could not be repaired because it was sloping and unstable.

At one point, Combs fell ill and her nephew, Charlie Torres, began making more calls and pleaded for more help to be done for the family.

It was then that the CBDRG stepped in and told Combs she and her mother would be built a brand new home.

In October 2018, their old home was demolished and the process to build their new home began swiftly after.

The MDS provided the volunteers who built the home and CBDRG managed Torres’ case.

“We are so thankful for everybody that has had a hand in this,” said Combs. “It means a lot to us for people that we don’t even know to come and help us.”

Butters expressed how great it feels to bring another Aransas County family back in a brand new home.

“We are humbled and honored to be a part of the recovery efforts for families in Aransas County, but we are just as excited to work hand in hand with other organizations as we continue to rebuild,” said Butters.

Zavala’s furniture will soon donate furniture to the Torres family, such as beds and a dining room table.

CBDRG, in partnership with several other non-profits, have completed 63 major home reconstruction projects thus far and is continuing to work on another 104 on-going projects. All of this is possible due to the generous donors and hardworking volunteers. CBDRG continues to seek volunteers who range from skilled-laborers to general help.

To learn more about the CBDRG and to fill open volunteer positions, visit www.coastalbenddrg.org/volunteer.

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