Home delivered by Coastal Bend Recovery Group

APRIL 12, 2018 [REFUGIO, TX] – Like many families in the South Texas area, the Lerma family was beginning to lose hope after the destruction that was left behind by Hurricane Harvey. That hope was restored when they learned they were receiving a brand new manufactured home from Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group (CBDRG) and their recovery partners. Mr. and Mrs. Ernesto Lerma Jr, an elderly couple living in Refugio, had their home completely destroyed from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. The storm left their home severely damaged, especially the family’s roof from which leakage began to affect their electrical system, making their living situation hazardous. Several rooms of furniture and personal belongings were also ruined as a result of the damage.

refugio-home.jpegMr. Lerma expressed his own experience with disaster in the area. “I worked helping people out in disaster areas in this county, but I never once gave it a thought that I would be in need also. I want to thank everyone very much, we really appreciate it.”

Through the collaborative efforts of CBDRG, Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, Refugio County, and the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, the former home was demolished, hauled away for disposal, replaced by a new manufactured home with plumbing and electrical hook-ups. Salvageable contents were packed and stored by spring break volunteers in a shed constructed by Christian Public Services (CPS). CPS also built a wheelchair ramp for easier access in and out of their home.

wickham-lernas-refugio.jpg“It’s a blessing to see all the different kinds of people who’ve been working together and all the capabilities they have to make this happen,” said Jennifer Wickham, Bishop's Deputy for Disaster Recovery from the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. “It’s a blessing to be a part of all this.”

In addition to receiving a new home, the Salvation Army was able to donate furniture to the family and gift cards, courtesy of three Henry Scott Middle School students from Dennison, TX, which will help the family purchase new bedding. The Coastal Bend Food Bank (CBFB) and CBDRG have also partnered together to fill the family’s pantry with food staples and cleaning supplies.

“The Coastal Bend Food Bank is privileged to partner with the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group to rebuild homes, feed families, and bring hope to people and families who lost so much to Hurricane Harvey,” shared Bea Hanson, executive director of CBFB.

“With a total of 41 counties included in this FEMA-declared disaster, it is incredible to see steps towards recovery closer to home,” said Judge Robert Blaschke, Refugio County Judge and CBDRG board member. “The delivery of this home is special to Refugio and will be one of many on the road to recovery.”

“It has been a long 7 1/2 months but working together as a team of teams we are assisting the most vulnerable in our community in recovery,” voiced executive director of CBDRG, Warren Phipps. “We are achieving demonstrable progress and we are committed to improving the lives of those affected.”

CBDRG by the Numbers:

  • CBDRG’s current focus is on the six counties within the federally declared disaster area: Aransas, Bee, Kleburg, Nueces, Refugio, and San Patricio counties.

  • Based on the number of FEMA applicants within the six counties, an estimated 5000 – 8000 households to be categorized as low income, most vulnerable who will need additional support beyond FEMA and SBA to recover from the effects of Hurricane Harvey.

  • Currently, there are 53 on-going construction projects across the six counties. CBDRG is solely funding 25 of these projects obligating over $442K with a total of $957K obligated to these projects.

  • CBDRG is currently partnered with 15 volunteer organizations providing funding and volunteer labor to complete home repairs, rebuilds or manufactured home replacements. Other notable charities such as the Coastal Bend Food Bank, Salvation Army, and the Red Cross have helped meet the needs that go beyond the physical construction of the homes.


The Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group (CBDRG) is a volunteer based coalition created to address the unmet needs of Coastal Bend area residents affected by disaster. CBDRG is a State/FEMA recognized long-term recovery organization, and is registered with the State of Texas as a non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation as authorized by the IRS. Established in 2015, CBDRG was formed to continuously coordinate long-term disaster recovery within the eleven county region of the Texas Coastal Bend (Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, San Patricio, and Refugio) for current and future disasters.

Volunteer Groups and individuals can sign up to join our efforts at our website www.coastalbendcan.org/CBDRG or email coastalbenddrg@gmail.com.


Warren Phipps, Executive Director 361-587-5005 wphipps.cbdrg@gmail.com