WEST (May 13, 2013)—Representatives of country legend Willie Nelson presented checks Monday to the West and Abbott Volunteer Fire Departments, both of which were hit hard by the deadly April 17 explosion at West Fertilizer Co.
Nelson donated $80,950 to the West VFD, which lost five firefighters in the powerful explosion, and more than $46,500 to the Abbott VFD, which lost two.
Nelson turned a performance marking his 80th birthday late last month at the Backyard at Bee Dave into a benefit for the volunteer fire departments.
The performance sold out.
"West is just a few miles from my hometown of Abbott,” Nelson said.
“I was born and raised here and it was my backyard growing up. This is my community. These friends and neighbors have always been and are still a part of my life,” he said.
“My heart is praying for the community that we call home."
Nelson was born on April 27, 1933 in Abbott, where his grandparents reared him.
His first public performance was at a church picnic when he was 5 and recited a poem he had written.