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Some West Residents Outraged over West Newspaper Article


Some recovering West residents are outraged over an article in the town's newspaper that was written by the Long-Term Recovery Center executive director. 

Karen Bernsen writes for West News every week to update the town in the recovery process and upcoming important information residents need to know. However, last week's article over Thanksgiving got a little personal.

"We don't need to be put through all this grief about reading something like that in the paper because I'm grateful, and I'm grateful to God," said Jean Maler.

Maler was one of the hundreds who lost her home in the explosion.

The article was about two charities who are pledging to construct nearly 20 new homes in West, but before Bernsen got to that part, she mentioned how residents should be grateful for what they have during the recovery process.

Bernsen writes, "The 102 passengers on the Mayflower couldn't have realized 392 years ago that giving thanks for their survival would become a tradition celebrated by a small community. Also, giving thanks for its survival. The sad reality is, we are so blind to our blessings, we become ingrates, expecting even more, bigger, better.....never satisfied even in the face of kindness and generosity. In this recovery, I have witnessed this ungrateful behavior. Most affected residents are getting their lives back, making necessary and sometimes painful adjustments in their post-disaster circumstances. They are truly thankful and appreciate their blessings. But there are others who are much less appreciative. They complain about the unfairness of their circumstances and are dissatisfied with the solutions the case managers have worked hard to put together. Their attitudes are jeopardizing their recovery and the recovery of others."

"There are cases where somebody wanted a bigger house or something better than what they've had, but that's not the idea," Bernsen said. "The charities can't give them more than what they've had."

Bernsen didn't mean for it to sound like the way it was written.

"The case managers have really tried to pull together their resources of these charitable builders and we've got materials and suppliers, and when they get it all together and they present it all back to the resident, the resident is like, 'No, I don't think so,'" Bernsen said.

Caroll Waddell's daughter lost her home in the explosion and thinks Bernsen could have reworded it.

"It was like a slap in the face," Waddell said. "Nobody asked for this to happen to them."

After Bernsen interviewed with News Channel 25, she says she still stands behind what she wrote.

"I wrote it because I was stirred by the fact that we, I wrote it as a we," said Bernsen. "We tend to forget how blessed we are in this nation and community."

Bernsen also said that some residents did voice their appreciation for that article. 









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