By CHERIL VERNON
Following a successful garage sale fund-raiser earlier this month to raise money for the community of West, struck by tragedy after a fertilizer plant explosion in April, organizers have set up a bank account fund to raise more money for the effort.
“The garage sale was a big success. We raised $3,026.60 and a lot of people donated items to us,” said Montalba resident Patty Beckendorf, who organized the event with her daughters, Christi Woolverton and Jessica Gonzales. “Some just gave us $10 or $20 bills. We just want to thank everybody who helped by purchasing items or donating to the cause.”
The money raised from the garage sale was put into the “West Disaster Fund” account at Austin Bank in Palestine.
“We opened up an account and want to give it two or three weeks to see if more donations come in,” Beckendorf said. “We have a group of local people who are considering going to the town of West and hand-delivering the money to those in need.”
Those who want to drop off donations can do so at Austin Bank.
Some of the larger furniture pieces not sold at the garage sale will be sold on the “For Sale in Anderson County” Facebook page with proceeds going to the West Disaster Fund as well.
“We still have a couple of items we are trying to sell,” Beckendorf said.
Serving as the nurse manager for the Veterans Affairs clinic in Palestine, Beckendorf has had contact with several people who have connections to family members in West.
“I’ve never really done anything like this before, but what happened to West made such an impression on me. West is a neat little, rural town — it is almost like one of our little communities around Palestine, filled with good, hard-working people,” Beckendorf told the Herald-Press in a previous interview. “I have nine grandchildren and I want to show them and other kids, not just mine, that when things like this happen, you try to pull together and help people. If it were our community, it would feel good to know that strangers did that for us.”
For more information about the West Disaster Fund, call Beckendorf at 903-948-2060.