Saturday, April 20, 2013

Thoughts and Prayers for West Texas

We wanted to take a moment to mention the horrific fertilizer plant explosion in West Texas and pray for all those that have been affected by this tragic incident.  Somewhat overshadowed by the terrible events that went down in Boston, West Texas residents have suffered an even larger loss of life in an explosion that was so strong it registered on the Richter Scale. 

It has been reported by officials on the scene that at least 200 have been injured and 14 killed in the blast.  As a long-time member of the fire service, I'm even more sadden to report that 10 of the 14 who lost their lives were first responders, including five members of the West Texas Fire Department and 4 paramedics.  Names of the deceased are just now coming to light including one volunteer and one off-duty fire captain. 

In Memory is Kenny Harris, 52, an off-duty Dallas Fire Department captain who lost his life after responding from his home located just a few miles south of the fertilizer plant.  I'm sure that Captain Harris's death will be classified as a line-of-duty-death (LODD).

In Memory is Jerry Chapman, volunteer firefighter with the West Texas Fire Department who lost his life while in the line-of-duty.  Firefighter Chapman was described by loved ones as a man who always carried his pager and radio; ready to help anyone, anytime, day or night.

Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and loved ones affected by this horrible incident.   Thoughts and prayers also go out to each and every individual who was affected by the Boston Marathon bombings, an incident that will never be forgotten in the minds of all good Americans.

If you would like to help, you can do so by donating to:

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has established a fund for monetary donations for the survivors and co-workers of the fire and EMS personnel who died in the line of duty.  Mail checks to NFFF c/o West Texas Fire and EMS Fallen Hero Fund, P.O. Drawer 498, Emmitsburg, Maryland, 21727.  You may also go to the foundation's website at www.firehero.org/ to donate on line.  They also will facilitate messages to donate apparatus, equipment, and turn-out gear through firehero.org/contact.  Remember, most volunteer firefighters and their families are not entitled to survivorship benefits, nor are they often covered should they be injured, so please consider donating today.

A victim's fund has been set up at the Pointwest Bank.  Checks can be mailed to the bank at 200 W.Oak, West, Texas, 76691 or P.O. Box 279, West, Texas, 76691.  Call 254-826-5333 for more information, including who to address the check to. 

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