Garage Sale, EMS Open House Mark Symbolic Milestones for West - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Garage Sale, EMS Open House Mark Symbolic Milestones for West

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(KCEN) - A year after the explosion, West is finding its new normal.

There's still a lot to do, but Saturday marked two symbolic steps forward. It's a shift from recovery to rebuilding.

Kevin Dudik and Christi Jones went the West Long-Term Recovery Center to do a little shopping; it's a way to help West.

"You know, I grew up here and just really have a lot of love for the community," Dudik said.

The center held a garage sale for three hours Saturday to sell off everything they've collected.

"Clothing -- men's, women's, children's, infants' -- household goods, furniture, appliances," said Suzanne Hack, executive director of the West, TX Foundation.

They're making room for building materials to help people here push forward.

The money from the garage sale will go to the victims fund set up by the recovery center.

"We're entering a new phase of our recovery process," said Hack.

It's been a volunteer-driven recovery from the start, and that hasn't changed.

"There's nothing we can do watching from other parts [of Texas], but to be able to come in and actually be a part of this cleanup crew and to help out makes all the difference in the world," said Janie Fricke (yes, the country singer), who came to West with her church group from Dallas.

That group spent the day cleaning up the homeowner's yard and installing drywall on the new studs in her house.

In another symbolic step forward Saturday, West EMS held an open house.

"It's back to trying to get some normalcy going," said Tom Marek, EMS supervisor.

"We're supposed to get back on our feet and start all over," said Joy Stone, visiting the open house from Waco, "and this is a great way to do that."

A major milestone Saturday -- retiring the flags that have flown at the EMS building since the blast.

Their new home is a display case in the new building.

It's a second tribute, along with a wall devoted to the four EMTs who lost their lives.

"It brought out each of their personalities and it shows different aspects of them not only as EMTs, but as family men and friends," Cade Akers said.
    
Akers was good friends with Kevin Sanders, a member of the Bruceville-Eddy VFD who died in the blast.

He and his Christian Motorcycle Association went to the open house as well.

"Decided to stop by and let everybody know that we're thinking about them, that we're praying for them, and that we're here to support them," Akers said.

And pray they did: holding hands in a circle around the new flags.

Remembering the fallen, as residents make a fresh start.

"I think you can see as you're going through West that there has been a change in attitude, a change in spirit," said Hack.

"I see a lot of progress going on in town," Dudik said.

It's a new phase of recovery.

"It's a new beginning," said Akers.

And it's the start of a new West.
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