For decades those who attend the annual Rockdale Volunteer Fire Department’s banquet have heard chiefs state their number one goal on any call is to have all the volunteers who answer it return home.
Last week’s tragic explosion in West brought home the sad truth that sometimes that goal isn’t possible.
Eleven firefighters died in West, from several different departments,someofthemcomingdirectlyfromemergency medical technician (EMT) training, which was in session when the first fire call came in.
They deserve to be remembered by name instead of just a number. Here’s the sad list:
• Capt. Kenny “Luckey” Harris, 52, Dallas Fire Department, a West resident, son of 1954 RHS graduate Kenny Harris and nephew of Rockdale businesswoman Leanna Applegate. He was off duty but answered the call.
• Jimmy Matus, 52, West Volunteer Fire Department, was sales manager at Westex Welding and Fire Apparatus.
• Morris Bridges, 41, West Volunteer Fire Department. Reuters News Agency reported Bridges picked up his twoyear old son and kissed him good-bye when the fertilizer plant fire alarm was sounded.
• Cody Dragoo, 50, West Volunteer Fire Department, also president of the Cottonwood Water Supply Corporation.
• Joey Pustejovsky, 29, West Volunteer Fire Department, city secretary for the town of West.
• Douglas Snokhous, 50, and
• Robert Snokhous, 48, brothers and captains in the West Volunteer Fire Department. “ We are comforted that they were together at the end,” the Snokhous family said in a statement.
• Cyrus Reed, 29, Abbott Volunteer Fire Department, was in a classroom for his final EMT training.
• Jerry Chapman, 26, Abbott Volunteer Fire Department, nearing the end of his EMT training.
• Perry Calvin, 37, Merkel Volunteer Fire Department, he and his wife were expecting another child.
• Kevin Sanders, 33, Bruceville-Eddy Volunteer Fire Department, Illinois native and EMT trainee.—M.B.