Widow of West firefighter receives donated house today

POSTED: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 1:58pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 9:07pm

The widow of one of the first responders to the West disaster is getting a new start.

Tuesday, Donna Beseda got the keys to her brand new home in Waco.

"I think it's a miracle. And, I do believe it was meant to be for me," said Beseda.

Beseda says her new home on 42nd Street is a blessing, especially after losing her husband, firefighter Doug Snokhous, when he responded to the April 17 West plant explosion. Beseda says she saw him briefly before he bravely went out to to battle the blaze.

"That was the last time I would see him, and it meant a lot knowing that three seconds I saw that he was happy fighting that fire," said Beseda.

Now, pictures adorn the walls, memories of their 13 years of marriage. While Beseda says she and Doug did not wish to leave West, she says this Waco home has personal features that she already enjoys.

"I could see him swimming in the swimming pool. That's how I visualize him," said Beseda.

Beseda says this home is one where her children and grandchildren can enjoy coming for visits, especially since she's no longer running her floral business that she's done for four decades.

"I want to do the grandmother thing like all grandmothers get to do and have my kids here for birthday parties and events," said Beseda.

Bank of America donated the home, in partnership with the National Community Stabilization Trust, a national organization that works with financial institutions and local nonprofits to transfer homes and stabilize neighborhoods affected by the housing crisis, and the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC), a statewide nonprofit that works with organizations across the state to repair those homes and find eligible low-to-moderate income homebuyers.

TSAHC worked with NeighborWorks Waco and Brooke Community Development to perform needed repairs on the home and to identify Beseda as the eligible home buyer.

"Today is a culmination of months of work, not only to improve the home and get it ready, but to find the perfect recipient as well," said NeighborWorks Waco President and CEO Roy Nash.

Neighbor Works says about 40 to 50 thousand dollars went into the renovations to give Ms. Beseda a new start.

"I feel like I can accomplish anything here, and nothing is going to hold me back."

Beseda will received keys to the home in a ceremony, marking the official transfer of the property.


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