Tragedy Initiated Extension’s Role



The recent fire and explosion in West, Texas garnered national news attention. Behind the scenes, our Cooperative Extension peers contributed in part to the recovery. The following is a message that Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service employees received from Director Doug Steele:

“Put simply, the emergency response to the tragic explosion in West, Texas, required extraordinary efforts. As the recovery began, many of you helped on a personal level and others also served in official roles, as part of state and county emergency management plans—all doing exceptional work to help friends, family, neighbors and fellow Texans in need. Although I can’t recount all your efforts following this catastrophic event, I would like to acknowledge the following:

· County Extension agents and staff in McLennan, Hill and surrounding counties, who helped wherever they could, in addition to their support role for animal issues, public information, and ongoing educational needs during community, business and family recovery.

· Our 4-H and Youth Development Program, which activated statewide to collect, pack and ship basic supplies to first responders and affected families, as well as to raise more than $5,600 in monetary donations.

· Texas A&M AgriLife Communications for assistance with media inquiries; the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) for elevating relevant educational material on its website; Mr. Ron Woolley for serving as agency liaison to the Texas Department of Public Safety Disaster District Committee; and Dr. Andy Vestal, our Extension director of emergency management, for providing reference information for a USDA-NIFA and White House teleconference on April 18.

At such a difficult time, the importance of each person’s part simply cannot be overstated. Thank you to all who helped and continue to help the residents of West.”

According to Suzanne Deatherage, assistant agency director-communications, other members of the Texas A&M University System also supported West, a community just 107 miles north of the flagship campus.