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Opportunities abound to help West recover

Denton County residents mounted a swift and generous response to help those affected by Wednesday’s devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in West.

Many probably knew little about the small Central Texas farming community, but it didn’t matter. As soon as word of the tragedy reached them, people began to react as if the blast had occurred in their own neighborhoods.

“This is Texas, and Texans are generous people,” Dianne Edmondson, chairwoman of the Denton County Republican Party, told us. “When one Texan is hurt, we’re all hurt.”

Members of the group delivered a truckload of supplies Friday to Waco, which is located near West. It was one of numerous charity relief efforts that started less than a day after the explosion, and although there was little time to publicize it, the group collected a large amount of goods through outreach on social media. It also collected about $1,000 in cash during the party’s monthly meeting Thursday night.

The party has also established a website — — where people can donate money to the relief effort.

The folks at Jim McNatt Auto Group, headquartered at 4100 S. Interstate 35E, have also been actively involved in the relief effort. Gene Cole, general manager, said the dealerships in Denton, Sanger and Gainesville continue to collect canned goods.

One load was delivered to a well-organized collection site in West at about noon Friday, Cole said. The dealerships will deliver more as they collect a full load, he said.

Members of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at the University of North Texas had a drive to collect items, and it quickly became a project of the entire Greek community at the university. The group left Friday afternoon with two truckloads and a trailer full of goods they had collected.

Other area relief efforts included:

The American Eagle Harley-Davidson dealership at 5920 I-35E also accepted donations on Friday and Saturday. All items will be distributed to a church in West.

Mattress Firm locations throughout the area are accepting donations until 6 p.m. today.

The Dodd National Elementary Honor Society at Dodd Intermediate School in Krum is collecting school/office supplies and bottled water through Friday. For more information, call Laura Finlay at 940-482-2536.

University of North Texas students S. Andrew Lloyd, Hentus van Rooyen, Christopher Rios, Yangsun Yu and So Jung Park have scheduled a benefit concert for the victims of West at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at University Park United Methodist Church, 4024 Caruth Blvd. in Dallas. The concert is free, but donations will be accepted for relief in West.

Former County Judge Vic Burgess has set up a fund at NorthStar Bank of Texas in Denton to assist family members injured in the West explosion, along with their friends and neighbors. The bank is at 400 N. Carroll Blvd. and can be reached at 940-591-1200.

Pointwest Bank in West has opened a fund for victims of the explosion. Donations will be accepted at 200 W. Oak St., West, TX 76691. The bank’s phone number is 254-826-5333.

The Salvation Army has operated four emergency disaster kitchens and distributed food and water on site during the last few days. Donations can be made at

Carter BloodCare at 2215 S. Loop 288, Suite 335 in Denton is accepting blood donations, and community blood drives are planned for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at UNT on the east side of the University Union and from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Texas Woman’s University in the visitor parking lot at Bell Avenue and Administration Drive. For more information, call 940-383-5923.

We commend those who have organized relief efforts for the West community, and we offer our heartfelt thanks to all who have helped support those drives or made other contributions.

With new names of drive organizers and supporters being added at a rapid rate, we may not have received word of all contributions in time to give credit, but everyone’s donation is sincerely appreciated.

For an updated list of relief efforts, check daily “How to help” listings in the Denton Record-Chronicle or on our website at .