U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Success Stories

Revitalizing a Community: How Rural Development Helped City of Carbon After a Devastating Wildfire

Norma Daniela Garnica - norma.garnica@usda.gov

In the wake of a catastrophic wildfire that ravaged the City of Carbon, leaving 85 homes destroyed and the water system severely impacted, Sylvia Gosnell, the dedicated City Secretary, found herself facing immense challenges. The fire had torn through the water plant, leaving it without a power source, and the city was in desperate need of assistance to restore vital services to its residents.

Frustration mounted as Sylvia recounted the struggles the city faced, particularly with ensuring a reliable water supply for firefighting efforts and meeting the needs of the community. However, hope emerged when Tristan King, the city's engineer, introduced them to Todd Powell, RD Community Programs Specialist, sparking a turning point in Carbon City's recovery journey.

With federal funding received through the Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant (ECWAG) program, the City of Carbon embarked on a project to replace damaged water meters, a crucial step in rebuilding the water infrastructure and ensuring a steady water supply for the community. Sylvia emphasized how this support alleviated a significant burden, allowing her team to focus on essential tasks and improving efficiency in their operations.

The impact of USDA RD's assistance extended beyond just restoring water infrastructure; multiple citizens were recipients of the Section 504 Home Repair program which provided affected homeowners financial assistance to repair their damaged homes.

Gosnell's experience working with Todd and USDA Rural Development was nothing short of exemplary. “Todd's personable and caring approach made the entire process seamless and painless”, said Sylvia, despite the usual red tape associated with grants.

Reflecting on their journey, Sylvia enthusiastically encourages other cities facing similar challenges to seek assistance from USDA Rural Development without hesitation. She highlights the smoothness of the process and its substantial contribution to Carbon City's recovery, emphasizing the value of utilizing available resources to support community revitalization.

Obligation Amount:
Year(s) of Obligation:
Congressional District:
  • Texas: District 25