Update, 3:48 p.m. April 19: Read the latest here.
I was sickened to read about last night’s deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in the city of West, just 90 minutes south of the BSA’s National Office in Texas.
West, a tight-knit community of 2,700, is part of the Longhorn Council, and Longhorn Scout Executive John Coyle told me this morning that his council’s volunteers and professionals are prepared to mobilize and help when and where they’re needed.
“If we can help any portion of the community, we will,” Coyle said. “Right now they need professionals.”
In other words, it’s too early to do anything without interfering with first responders who are still searching for survivors. Coyle did say the council has a troop and pack in West, but he hasn’t yet been able to get in contact with those unit leaders.
“Our district executive was trying to get in touch with some of the leaders down there, but he just couldn’t get through last night. When we can find out what is needed to help our units, we will take action,” he said. “I do know that right now the community is looking for financial support and blood donors.”
So if you live in North Texas, please get to a blood donation center as soon as you can. As for donations of supplies or cash, I’ll post again about that when I get details.
More to come.
Update, 2:41 p.m.: The Capitol Area Council posted this message to its members in the Austin, Texas, area:
Please help our partners at the Central Texas Blood and Tissue Center support the victims of the West, Texas explosion. Type 0+ and O- blood donors are in high demand.
Blood donations centers at 4300 N Lamar in Austin and 2132 North Mays in Round Rock will be open until 6pm each day for the foreseeable future.
However, you do not have to donate today. In fact, donating next week will be just as helpful. This is to avoid a glut of blood donations all at once; when that happens, some donations spoil before they can be delivered safely to medical facilities. Please consider giving blood sometime over the next week.