Baylor community rallies for West, Texas, as Diadeloso becomes DiaDelWest
Few things could make me more proud than seeing how the Baylor community sprang into action following the explosion Wednesday night in nearby West, Texas (about 20 miles north of Waco).
Students organized a midnight prayer gathering in front of Waco Hall, drawing almost 100 people to pray for those affected. Overnight, the university rolled out a website (baylor.edu/relief) to gather information on how Bears could help; that was followed later Thursday with a Facebook group to help get updates out.
Thursday was also Diadeloso, an annual holiday for Baylor students. But the morning’s events were rearranged to make room for a prayer vigil in the Student Union Building between 10 and 11 a.m. Baylor Chamber took the bear mascot trailer out to Dia later in the day to collect water, blankets, etc. for the displaced from West, just one of many groups collecting aid around Waco.
(My wife called at 9:30 a.m. from the local Target, where she had stood in line behind two Baylor students who had a cart overflowing with similar supplies for West evacuees; the cashier said they were the second group of Baylor students to come through her line already this morning.)
Students, faculty and staff were urged to give blood at local collection centers (Carter Blood Care and Scott & White Blood Center), and lines at such locations stretched around the block. Baylor also began accepting donations (both online and in-person at Robinson Tower) for a fund to benefit the community of West. The Diadeloso headliner concert featuring Five for Fighting was moved to the Ferrell Center and opened to the public; cash donations to support the relief effort were accepted, and $1 from every concessions sale will go to relief efforts. [See photos from the concert and other Dia events here.]
Thursday evening, an email to the Baylor family noted that, in less than 24 hours, the fund mentioned above had already received nearly $15,000 in donations (not including donations collected at the concert).
So proud of how the Baylor family has responded; even Sports Illustrated has picked up on the Baylor spirit. I think this tweet sums things up:
— Laurie Cavin (@lauriecavin) April 18, 2013
Sic ’em, Bears!
* Hearts of service: Three Baylor nursing students were among the first on the scene in West (April 2013)
* Memorial service on Baylor campus honors fallen heroes from West explosion (April 2013)
* Baylor family’s $290,000 donation will help West homeowners move forward (July 2013)
* Baylor football scored points for West on record-setting night (Oct. 2013)
* Local public school partnership led by Baylor receives statewide honor (April 2014)
* Alum’s book captures first responders’ stories from West (April 2014)