Lubbock students send help to West victims - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock students send help to West victims

It was a very emotional day in Waco on Thursday as a memorial service was held for those killed in last Wednesday's fertilizer plant explosion in West. 

Sounds of bagpipes filled the air, flag-draped caskets lined the stage at Baylor University, while pictures of those brave first responders faced the audience.

One woman recalls the last time she and her son saw her husband. "Usually he just ran out of the house without stopping, as fast as he could. But he stopped that day and turned around and picked Jameson up and said, ‘Daddy loves you and I'll be right back.' But he didn't come back," she said through tears. 

The blast left 14 people dead and more than 200 injured. Twelve of those who were killed were first responders and were honored at the service.  

Governor Rick Perry called the 12 brave men "ordinary individuals blessed with extraordinary courage."

You didn't need to personally know the victims to know they were great men with great hearts.  

"It's really an emotional time, whenever you lose that many friends," said a firefighter. "Even though I didn't know them, they were still brothers with me in the fire service," he said.

Thursday's memorial service proved that although a tragedy may have hit a small town, it touched the lives of so many across the country.

Even President Barack Obama was moved by the resilience and resolve of the small community.

"Instead of changing who you are, this tragedy has simply revealed who you always been," he said addressing the crowd.

However, while tears were shed in Waco, students of Rush Elementary in Lubbock were very busy bagging packages. 

"Right after the explosion, I heard that one of their schools was damaged.  So I just got online and started looking around to see what was really going on and discovered that the 4th and 5th grade campus was completely destroyed, said Debra Sue Oden.

Oden is a fourth grade teacher at Rush Elementary and she said that her heart broke when she heard the news and she knew she had to do something.  

"If that kind of devastation happened to my school and I lost my supplies, not just pens, paper, pencils and crayons but my dice, my games, my activities, all those things that kids need to learn, all they need to put their hands on, I just don't know what I would do," said Oden. 

Oden and her students got busy gathering and packaging school supplies. Students also made heartfelt cards for the students in West to try and lift their spirits.

Oden will pack everything in her car and drive the packages to West on Friday. She says her students hope their efforts would leave a lasting impression on the children, teachers and families of West, who they now see as friends.

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