West, Texas (Explosion) / 16,000 Meals over 8 Days

A massive explosion and fire at a fertilizer plant in the small town of West, Texas, which badly damaged a five-block area.The blast was so massive and deafening, its ground motion registered as an earthquake. So far 12 deaths have been confirmed with another 60 people unaccounted for.

When OBR volunteers arrived in the late afternoon in West, they quickly found out that the Red Cross & Salvation Army were not cooking any hot meals. Knowing what a simple hot meal can provide for someone who hasn’t had one in a while, they quickly setup smokers and got food going. Later that evening, they were able to serve 500 hot meals.

During the deployment, OBR was approached and asked to cater two memorial services for fallen firefighters. One of which was from a Dallas engine company but had lived in the town of West. The entire engine company from Dallas came up for the memorial, a very humbling experience.

At the conclusion of the four-day operation, OBR volunteers had served 4,765 hot meals to grateful residents and first responders and left behind plenty of food for the VFW to continue feeding people.

Little did we know that all the other organizations inexplicably decided to pull out that evening, leaving the town and first responders in quite a predicament. Not knowing what to do, they reached out to OBR and asked if we could return. Our great volunteers in Texas turned around and were back in the town of West the following day, staying on-site and cooking for an additional four days.

During the eight days that OBR volunteers were in West, they cooked over 16,000 meals, providing food to victims, emergency personnel and countless volunteers helping the community. After learning that volunteers who were supposed to provide breakfast to students housed in hotels with their families did not show up, OBR volunteers provided breakfast to 75 students at their school so they would not go hungry. Our most proud moment was delivering food to the homes of the fallen firefighters for their private memorial services. BBQ is known as comfort food, and we would like to think we brought a little comfort to the families in their time of need.

OBR Participants:

Bryan McClarty, Michael McAnulty, Troy King, Amber Taylor King, Gerald Maynard, Laura Lowe Blount, Mark Barron, Randy Dunn, Carole Ritter, Royce Zatopek, Robert Waters, Aaron Byrd, Jill Lewis, Rayma Lynn LePoris, Gene Pruett, Ty Hillin, Rick Busick, Lance Carlson, Raymond Howey, Michelle Wade, Danny Christian, Tammy Welch Christian, Susan Chupp, Quincy Wallace

We apologize if you or your company is not listed. Things can get crazy during a deployment, and we do the best we can to keep track of all the great volunteers and businesses who help make OBR happen.  If you or your company is not listed, please let us know so we can add you to the list.  Email us at  info@operationbbqrelief.org.