LAMAR COUNTY, TX -- Over a dozen first responders rushed into harm's way at Wednesday's tragic fire at a Lamar County trailer manufacturing plant, but there were several unsung heroes that volunteered their time and money to show their support.
Fourteen volunteer fire departments, Lamar County Sheriff's Deputies, DPS Troopers and 240-employees were left with a void, a void that was quickly filled by community volunteers.
"There's no feeling or no word to describe when you can walk outside and see a friendly face that's there to help you," said Tigertown Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Kevin Norris, who was first on scene Wednesday. "I'm really grateful for them."
Numerous volunteers came to their aid, including the Red Cross, a local Paris food truck, Happy Grillmore, Stillhouse Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center and Brookshire's grocery store, all providing free water, Gatorade and food to first responders and employees.
"It just takes a load off you knowing those things that are just readily coming to you," said Sheriff Scott Cass. "I know the firemen appreciated it and the law enforcement appreciated it."
"Its important to help those that are in need, because you never know when you're going to be the same person facing that tragedy," said Stillhouse Rehabilitation and Healthcare Administrator Michael Reese.
Reese and a few Stillhouse employees went to Brookshire's and filled up a truck full of water. Brookshire's Store Director, Rocky Dority, heard what they were doing and donated a pallet of Gatorade to the cause.
First on the scene for the Red Cross was 85-year-old volunteer Bill McCullough, who was a volunteer fireman for 20 years and knows the important role volunteers play.
"When you rotate off a fire you're give out, you're hot and you need water and you need to cool down," said McCullough.
Brookshires is currently taking donations for Gatorade, that will be given to local first responders.
"If they buy five Gatorades, they get 200 points that goes toward their (Brookshire's) card," said Dority.
The promotion at Brookshire's runs through August 26.
Lamar County Sheriff's Office Facebook post (August 14):
"I want to say thank you to the Brookshire’s Grocery Store for sending water and Gatorade to the scene, and Earl and Carrie Bethea for providing food for all the Emergency personnel. Thank you to the American Red Cross for being on scene early providing support for emergency personnel and the plant employees. The incident lasted several hours and due to the good efforts of all those involved, kept our emergency personnel going during this difficult time."