In Texas, first rebuilt home dedicated after Bastrop County fires

By EDOT staff
Posted Apr 10, 2012

[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] On Holy Saturday, the first house completely built and funded by the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team (BCLTRT) was dedicated. It will belong to Hilary Shepherd and her daughter Jessica. All those who had been involved with rebuilding took part at a service of dedication.

The Rev. Gill Keyworth (left) presents Shepherd with the gift of a cross.

“It was truly a wonderful occasion to be able dedicate a home that had risen from ashes, on the weekend of Easter,” said the Rev. Gill Keyworth, disaster relief co-coordinator for the Diocese of Texas.

The house was funded jointly by the Shepherds from their Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant in addition to grants from the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, Episcopal Relief & Development, Calvary Episcopal Church Bastrop and Austin Disaster Relief Network. Mennonite Disaster Services built the home in just eight weeks with volunteers from across the U.S. and Canada.

Of the 1670 homes destroyed by the 2011 Labor Day fires in Bastrop County, 264 have been recognized as both not insured and owned by low income families. Many homeowners who had insurance are already rebuilding. Some are doing the construction themselves while others have building contractors. Of those doing the construction themselves some are running out of money before the home is complete.

Thousands of people have already been to Bastrop to volunteer their time with the cleanup. Many hundreds of college students were welcomed during spring break. Clearing of debris continued and many new fences and sheds were built.

Homeowner Hilary Shepherd triumphantly displays the keys to her new home

BCLTRT is working hard to complete case management, acquire building grants and welcome volunteer help. There are many projects and rebuilds underway as the team helps many families complete their homes.

To sign up for volunteer accommodation visit To find out more about the work of the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery team visit