On April 17, 2013, the West Fertilizer Plant explosion killed 15 people, wounded 200 others, and destroyed 160 homes, almost 10% of the city’s single family residences. The City of West has lost up to 20% of its tax base plus over 150 jobs. An apartment building, a nursing home, the high school, junior high school and one of two elementary schools were destroyed or heavily damaged.
The Texas Builders Foundation, Stylecraft Builders, Inc., the Texas Association of Builders (TAB), and the Heart of Texas Builders Association (HOTBA) have joined together to build a home for a member of the home builders association family whose home was destroyed in the blast.
Randy French, president of Stylecraft Builders, Inc., has donated the resources of his company and will serve as Build Team leader. To complete the home, the Build Team is relying on the help and support of the members of the Texas Association of Builders in the form of materials, labor and monetary donations.
“We have so much to be thankful for, and we welcome this opportunity to help someone who through tragic circumstances lost nearly everything,” said Randy French. “We are happy to lead the Build Team, and I know that the building community will support us in making this new home a reality.”
Scott Norman, executive director of the Texas Association of Builders remarked, “The TAB family has never hesitated to lend a hand when called upon to fulfill a need. Our members are incredibly generous, and I know that we can count on their support to help us build this home.”
Members of the Waco-area Heart of Texas Builders Association vetted several candidates before bringing the name of one individual to the Build Team. “Over the last 15 years, our recipient has worked as a subcontractor for me and dozens of other builders. She is a hard worker, and someone we can count on, and we are honored to help her rebuild her home and her life,” said Kent Garbett, president of HOTBA and a Waco-area builder.
About our recipient:
Gwen Breedlove has been a part of the building industry her entire life; her mom owned a lumber mill and lumber store near Waco for 20 years, her dad was a cabinet maker, and Gwen has owned her make-ready cleaning business for 15 years and has worked for dozens of Heart of Texas BA members over the years. Gwen raised her now 20 year old daughter as a single mom. The home that Gwen built and lived in for the last 34 years was only two blocks across the railroad tracks from the fertilizer plant; it was destroyed in the blast.
Members of the Breedlove Build Team met in July to surprise Gwen Breedlove with plans to build her a new home. (l to r): Steve Sorrells, Sorrells & Gunn; Catherine Dinunzio, Stylecraft Builders; Randy French, Stylecraft Builders; Gwen Breedlove; Paul Lasater, Stylecraft Builders; Doug French, Stylecraft Builders; and, Kent Garbett, Kent Garbett Homes.
About the Build Team:
Texas Builders Foundation: The Texas Builders Foundation is organized exclusively as a private charitable foundation, and its emphasis is on the development and implementation of educational services and programs for builders, remodelers, subcontractors and tradesmen. The Texas Builders Foundation has awarded thousands of dollars in student scholarships to individuals who are enrolled in Texas’ technical and trade schools and colleges and universities that offer construction certifications or degrees. In addition, the foundation supports building-related charitable efforts across the state. The Texas Builders Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations to the foundation are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Visit www.TexasBuildersFoundation.org.
Stylecraft Builders, Inc.: For over 25 years, family-owned Stylecraft Builders, has been committed to building new homes with unparalleled style and design at an exceptional value. The desire to provide home buyers with a product "where value meets design," is evident in the company's all inclusive homes. This dedication to providing quality, stylish homes with outstanding customer service has enabled Stylecraft Builders to expand from being the leading home builder in Bryan/College Station, to the largest private home builder in Central Texas. Visit www.StylecraftBuilders.com.
Texas Association of Builders (TAB): The Texas Association of Builders serves as the voice of the residential construction industry in Texas. Founded in 1946, the Texas Association of Builders is an affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders and has 28 local home builders associations across Texas. Representing nearly 10,000 members, over 400,000 jobs and $22 billion annually of the Texas economy, the state and local associations play a crucial role in providing housing for Texans. Dedicated to creating a positive business environment for the housing industry by addressing the housing issues of the people of Texas, TAB is the third largest home builders association in the nation. Visit www.TexasBuilders.org.
Heart of Texas Builders Association (HOTBA): The Heart of Texas Builders Association has been safeguarding and facilitating the builder's ability to produce affordable new housing in Waco and the Central Texas Region for over 50 years. Current membership includes area builders and industry-related businesses. HOTBA supplies its members with the latest information regarding changes in building regulations, legislation on the state, local and national levels, building trends and products plus much more. In addition to monthly meetings and publications, HOTBA sponsors annual fundraising events: Home Products Show in February; Golf Tournament in May; and Parade of Homes in June. Proceeds benefit association operations, political action and building-trade scholarships. Visit www.HOTBAWaco.com.