Students On Spring Break Lend A Hand In West

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WEST (March 10, 2014) An initiative coordinated by the First Baptist Church and the Long Term Recovery Center in West, will result in hundreds of students touching down in the town for the next two weeks, sidestepping spring break plans to lend a hand in the community.

With the one year anniversary of the West explosion nearly a month away, almost 200 students were at work in West Monday, performing maintenance jobs throughout the city.

Pastor John Crowder of the First Baptist Church in West says 12 to 15 groups of 75 or more students from elementary to college levels are expected to join the initiative. Many of the groups are involved with churches across the nation.

Crowder says most of the volunteers will be doing manual labor, clearing debris from construction sites and plots so rebuilding homes can be easier.

Some students are also performing tasks designated by the West LTRC and FBC West that specifically help different families within the town.

“To anyone, this is just moving rocks and doing hard work,” Crowder said.

“But for those who live here, it looks like these kids are helping us put our lives back together."

For Baylor Sophomore Kristin Ritch, giving back to West and going on vacation were options she had to weigh.

“I had a lot of friends who were going to the beach and they invited me, but just because I get to have a break from school doesn't mean the people of West get to have a break from what they’re dealing with here,” Ritch said.

UT Arlington Senior Daniel Martinez felt called to serve in West this week. Martinez has a close friend in from West who was affected by the West explosion.

“Anyone can be affected by disaster at any given moment. Just as we would seek support in our own struggles, we need to be there to support those who are struggling,” Martinez said.

If you would like to volunteer in West this week, contact the West LTRC at 254-826-4650.