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Widow of West Explosion first responder receives new home

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A widow of a first responder who was killed during the West Fertilizer Explosion received a generous donation from a few local organizations. Donna Beseda had never imagined leaving West and moving into a new home in Waco, at least not without her late husband Doug Snokhous.

"I would have been happier there the rest of my life, if my husband was there with me. And with him not being there, and eating every meal by myself, and knowing his pickup is not coming up in the garage at a certain time. It makes me worse than better," Beseda said.

Snokhous was one of the first responders killed in the West Fertilizer Explosion. Beseda said she had been overwhelmed with emotion after the death of her husband, and struggled emotionally after the incident.

Her home had been severely damaged from the blast. It had six gas leaks and the entire home was flooded. The house wasn't a complete loss, but the damage was significant enough that it would cost Beseda more than she could afford, especially after taking an indefinite leave from her floral business.

"This house has made me want to accomplish more, instead of being weak like I was," she said. "There was a part of me that thought my life would never get better only get worse after the explosion."

Tuesday was a new day for Beseda, she was given a new home in Waco courtesy of Bank of America, the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation, and the NeighborWorks Waco.

She says she wasn't sure about leaving West after living there for 28 years, but after seeing the home and realizing it was time for a change, she chose to make the move.

"I feel like it is a new beginning for me because I could be in West and in 20 minutes I am ready to cry. There is still everything that me and my husband did is in West," she said. "I can go to the grocery store and people ask me so many questions that I am ready to get out before I can buy everything I need."

Roy Nash, president of NeighborWorks Waco, says convincing Beseda to move wasn't difficult at all.

"After the very first time she looked at this home, she tells us that she fell in love with it immediately," Nash said. "She said 'I probably shouldn't have fell in love with it but it is a beautiful home, beautiful neighborhood, beautiful trees.'"

Beseda says West will always hold a special place in her heart, but she is ready for the new challenges and opportunities that await for her in Waco.

"A loving escape. Very loving to be here and know that I can start a different life and still have my old friends and develop new friends," Beseda said.

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