Editor's Note: The following commentary was written by Mike Barnett, Director of Publications at the Texas Farm Bureau and published on the Texas Agriculture Talks website.
Our sympathy and admiration go out to the people of West, whose strength and courage have held this rural community together in a time of tragedy.
Lives of first responders—men and women who selflessly run toward danger so others can live—have been lost and we mourn their passing, recognizing that these volunteers commit their time, resources and yes, their well-being, to keep their friends, families and communities safe.
Their selfless actions are no surprise to residents of small town Texas. And neither is the outpouring of fellow Texans who have graciously donated their resources. Texans help Texans.
However, material supplies, although much appreciated, are no longer needed. The town has been overwhelmed with donations of food, clothing and water, according to Mayor Tommy Muska. What is really needed, the mayor says, are financial donations.
That’s where Texas Farm Bureau is stepping in to help. A fund—called West Relief—has been set up through
Texas Farm Bureau’s Education and Research Foundation and will facilitate getting financial aid to those in need. There are no administrative costs to this fund and 100 percent of the donations will benefit those impacted by the tragedy.
In the chaos of the first few days, it’s hard to tell where the biggest need will be. The intent of the Texas Farm Bureau fund is to evaluate the situation and send the funds to where they help most. It could be the West Volunteer Fire Department, who lost three of their fire trucks to the explosion. It could be other needs of this devastated community. We will know more as time passes.
Our hearts are heavy with this tragedy. The lives of those lost can never be replaced. We’ll hold them close and offer prayers for their families.
West will come back. That’s a given.
But West residents will need resources. Your financial donation can help.
Please consider giving, either through Texas Farm Bureau or a number of other worthy relief funds.
Let’s help West residents get back on their feet.
The West Relief fund is accepting monetary donations only. Tax deductible donations may be made by county Farm Bureaus or by individuals to: Texas Farm Bureau Education and Research Foundation—West Relief, P.O. Box 2689, Waco, TX 76702-2689; Attn: Cyndi Gerik.