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A Tribute to West, TX - A Town I Know and Love

Many of my friends are RNs, police officers, volunteer fire department members, and generally good folk who are putting in a lot of time to help out with the town of West, TX. To say the least, everything right now is surreal.

My house is ten minutes away from West, in a small rural area called Elm Mott. My brother was home with his girlfriend when the explosion happened. He said the sound was massive, the earth shook, and he couldn't believe what he was hearing and seeing. Sirens non-stop down the highway, panic on the news, the YouTube videos coming out. I literally drove up there on the 11th to see Judge Pareya about getting a traffic ticket dismissed. For those who haven't been to West every year for Westfest, for those who have never been to a Trojans game, for those who have never stopped by the Czech Stop for some of their infamously amazing kolaches, for those who didn't get their first driving lessons on the highway by going up North I-35 to go into West for some of those kolaches, you are seeing the news and it's just that: You don't get an idea of how big the town actually is.

The suburb where I grew up just south of Elm Mott is called Lacy-Lakeview. That suburb itself houses more people than the entirety of West, TX. West is a seriously small town - 2,800 people. When news reports are saying "up to 100 buildings destroyed," they are essentially saying "the town is gone, it's done, there's nothing." Obviously, that's not entirely true. There are still buildings standing, and luckily for the people in West, first responders were quick as hell in getting out there and doing everything in their power to help.

Everything around here is close-knit. Many of the people who live in West are people that all of us know. If you look up Wesley Adcock right now, he can be seen helping people on the streets. He's just a regular Joe, but when his cousin Joanna popped up on my Facebook with an article saying "So proud of my cousin right now!", it brought a tear to my eye. It's not just because he's doing the right thing and doing what he can. It's because that hits close to home. When people you KNOW are involved in something this big, you start feeling that connection.

My days off are Sunday and Monday this week. When those hit, I'm going to be making my way over to West to try and help the best I can with whatever I possibly can. Until then, I have to sit here at work and watch the news. I plan on donating blood later today when I get off, but this feeling that you are shackled...that you could be helping and yet you can''s annoying the living fuck out of me.

I've never been this close to tragedy. The idea of West being tragic as fuck. That place was awesome.

Meanwhile, my heart and thoughts go out to all the people affected - those injured, deceased, first responders, hospital personnel, and everyone else. It's one thing to see something like Boston happen from a distance and say those same words...and a completely different thing when the blast was no more than 10-20 minutes from your home and it's a place you've been to for the last 25 years.