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$50K Valero donation to benefit Port Arthur, Orange residents impacted by hurricane

Citizens in Port Arthur and Orange County negatively affected by Hurricane Laura may see some relief courtesy of a donation from Valero Energy Foundation.

Valero’s Mark Skobel presented a $50,000 check to Vernon Pierce, executive director of Southeast Texas Emergency Relief Fund, which is working with the Jefferson County Long Term Recovery.

“We are so honored that Valero contacted us and said they would like to make the donation,” Pierce said.

Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie, left, Michelle Tubbleville, executive director of Orange County Disaster Rebuild, Valero’s Mark Skobel, Vernon Pierce, executive director of Southeast Texas Emergency Relief Fund pose for a photo after the donation. (Mary Meaux/The News)

A bulk of the funds will go toward Orange County with the rest going to Port Arthur — the exact figure wasn’t disclosed during the check presentation on Wednesday at Bob Bowers Civic Center.

Affected Port Arthur residents saw mandatory evacuation and unexpected expenses such as staying out of town and the loss of food from their refrigerator/freezer due to power outages.

The funding for Port Arthur residents will be in the form of food cards to purchase groceries and be given to organizations to distribute. The organizations that will assist were not named, nor was a timeline for distribution.

Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie said he is thankful for the contribution from the city’s industrial neighbor to the SETERF, which will be used to help individuals who have been harmed by Hurricane Laura.

Michelle Tubbleville, executive director of Orange County Disaster Rebuild, said Orange County had 38 homes destroyed during Laura with a lot more seeing major and minor damage.

The funding will go toward unmet needs to those individuals, including rebuilding and recovery from the hurricane.

Tubbleville said her organization depends on partnerships such as the one with Valero to help those in need.