The Woodsboro community treated its new citizens with deserved fanfare, bringing the town together to welcome a new set of families March 25.

Tierra de Esperanza, a joint community project, gave 13 families the keys to their brand-new homes during a dedication ceremony. The ceremony included Refugio County officials giving their first greetings to the first phase of the community project.

The 13 homes are part of a total 23 that represent Phase 1 of the Tierra de Esperanza project, with the neighborhood sitting on 3.6 acres of land in Woodsboro. Project partners committed a combined $2.3 million to build the homes, hopeful that it will have a positive affect in the community as part of post-Hurricane Harvey relief.

Woodsboro’s newest families were brought together from a wide range of sources. The project has been made possible from the combined efforts of the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group (CBDRG), Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi Inc., Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Disaster Aid of Ohio, Mennonite Disaster Service, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Rebuild Texas, Refugio County Community Development Foundation and the Town of Woodsboro, among others.

Depending on the homeowners’ family size and needs, two floor plans were used for the homes: either a two-bedroom, one-bath space or a three-bedroom, two-bath home. Each home is windstorm certified and includes energy-efficient central HVAC, refrigerator, stoves, ceiling fans, and laminate flooring throughout.

Construction and volunteer efforts for the Tierra de Esperanza project were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, needing someone to help pick up the pieces on the new community. Two critical organizations that aided in completion of the project were the Mennonite Disaster Service and Disaster Aid Ohio, traveling to Texas to take on construction.

“Martin Luther King Jr. once said in his I Have a Dream speech ‘with this faith we will be able to hew out of this mountain of despair a stone of hope,’” said Mennonite Disaster Service executive director Kevin King. “I think back to that as we move 13 people into this land of hope.”

The partnership between Woodsboro and the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group has been fruitful, with the group established in 2015 to “address the unmet needs of Coastal Bend area residents affected by disaster.” Recognized by both the state of Texas and FEMA, the group coordinates long-term disaster recovery within the 11 counties that make up the Coastal Bend.

“It takes an army of willing souls and God’s many blessings to make a miracle like this happen,” CBDRG board president Donna Rosson said. “So many of you call this place home and we are happy to welcome you back.”

For more information on the efforts of CBDRG, visit www.coastalbenddrg.org/volunteer or email volunteers4cbdrg@gmail.com.

•tleffler@mysoutex.com•

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