It is one thing that Bears, Longhorns and Aggies can all agree about: stopping in West, TX at the Czech Stop. After every big game involving a home game for any one of those three Universities, you can find a mass of people in green, maroon, burnt orange or whatever color the visiting team is wearing. You spotted the fans you rooted with, along with a few people you might have booed there as well, all stopping and hanging out for a few minutes before heading on home.
It was a stop, just 15 minutes north of Waco that was a beacon for all of Central Texas. You could get past the game-day traffic in Waco and stretch your legs. Aggies living in North Texas would also make this a frequent stop as well on their way back from College Station, as it was just a few minutes down the road after getting on I-35. It is truly remarkable seeing everyone in line, colors worn proudly and voices worn and beaten, barely able to squeak out the order for whatever kolache or pastry is your desire.
Personally, I am a man of the many cream cheese kolaches and a few sausage rolls to go along with the order of maple twists my wife demands I retrieve for her. But West, TX is more than just a delicious old-time bakery. It is the Auction House, with some of the best pancakes in the morning and a very good chicken fried steak in the evening. It is the excellent retail shops on main street that we always a great Sunday afternoon date during the football off-season to take your lady too. And it was the fertilizer plant that many of the citizens in West depended on for jobs.
The tragic explosion this week, way too close to the Boston Marathon tragedy for comfort, has hit Texas hard. To see the outpouring of support and prayers to this small wonderful town has been wonderful. It is a cliché, but it is a good one because it is true. Tragedy pulls us together and makes us stronger. That is one of the best traits of Texas and America. Our ability to come together as one big family and help those that need help is unparalleled and unquestioned.
There are upwards of 50 homes that have been damaged or completely destroyed. There is an entire retirement facility that is destroyed and a middle school that will need a lot of repair. But worst of all, there are the people that have lost their lives. Right now, authorities are still in the search and rescue aspect of this tragedy. Mayor Tommy Muska is estimating 35-40 dead, though that is still an estimate.
So please, do everything you can to help West, TX. Give blood. Send prayers. Give supplies at a local drop off point. We here at BearsIllustrated.com are trying to spread the word as much as we can, through twitter and other mediums. Below are links to the different organizations that are helping:
Texas A&M: Link
Randalls (Houston-Area): Link
We will continue to provide any updates we can about helping West, TX. Right now, requests are being made for basics such as toiletries, clothes and bottled water. They also have a need for baby clothes and items as well.