County Program Subsidizes Installation of Storm Shelters

    Those who lived in Wichita Falls on that Terrible Tuesday, April 10, 1979, know severe weather can cause horrific devastation.
    They know, too, the importance of having a safe place to go should disaster strike.
    And that's why county officials brought the Texas Safe Room Project to Wichita County.
    Barry Mahler, precinct three commissioner, says, "Anybody that lives on the plains here in Texas realizes that the thunderstorms can build.  Tornadoes are a reality, as we knew in 1979.  It's just an outstanding idea for anybody who lives in this area to have a safe place to go."
    Through FEMA, the project offers a funding match program, through which up to 50-percent of the cost of storm shelter or safe room installation is paid, up to $3000.
    It's a program that Bryan Coons and his wife Sarah couldn't resist: for just a small price, you get something that could prove priceless.
    "Peace of mind.  Safety and security.  With my wife and two-and-a-half year old son, we felt like it was a good investment to make," Coons says.
    Eighty-five of the first 100 grants have already been signed for in Wichita County. 
    That's since the program started Jan. 15.
    Mahler says that commissioners intend on applying for a second round of grants, so more county residents can have an option of a safe place to take shelter.
    If you want to enroll in the Texas Safe Room Project for Wichita County, call the commissioners' office at (940) 766-8106.
    This april marks the 34th anniversary of Terrible Tuesday.
    Interfaith Ministries, which was organized in the aftermath of Terrible Tuesday, is hosting a fundraiser April 12 and 13 to raise awareness about the services they provide to area residents after disasters.
    They need vendors and sponsors with an interest in severe weather preparation and disaster recovery information to get involved.
    You can contact Interfaith at 322-1365 for more information.

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