WEST (CBSDFW.COM) – The landscape isn’t the only thing that has changed in West, Texas, since a fertilizer explosion killed 15 people and destroyed more than 200 homes.
“I don’t think we take as much for granted,” said David Woodard, a West resident who rebuilt his home that was destroyed in the explosion. “I think we realize that we’re thankful for each and every day and what we have.”
After the tragedy, the residents of West asked for one thing — prayers. In many ways, those prayers were answered.
“This is a strong community and they rebuilt a lot faster than we thought,” said Father Ed Karasck, of the Church of Assumption in West.
Those prayers continued Friday, when the Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Austin Roman Catholic Church diocese held a memorial Mass to mark the first anniversary of the April 17, 2013 fertilizer explosion.
Residents came together at Assumption Catholic Church to reflect upon those who lost their lives trying to save others and also pray for continued healing and growth for their town.
Of the more than 200 homes that were destroyed, 138 of them have been rebuilt, according to West Mayor Tommy Muska.
“Seeing people come back and all smiles on their faces when they see the progress that we’re making, it makes you feel good inside,” Woodard said. “It makes you feel good about where our city is moving towards.”
The road to recovery for an entire town has been a long one. While it’s far from over, the town has vowed to rise again.
“Buildings are sticks and mortar and they can be fixed. We grieve our loss,” said Muska. “But we can’t stay still. We have to move forward and that’s what this town has done.”
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