Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday praised first responders and residents of a Central Texas town for working together on recovery efforts after a 2013 fertilizer plant fire and explosion claimed 15 lives.
Hundreds of people attended the ceremonies to dedicate the City of West Fallen Heroes Memorial, located in a park in the town about 65 miles (104.6 kilometers) south of Dallas. Architect and former West resident Kurt Vrbas designed the memorial featuring a reflecting pool and plaques.
Abbott said he’s proud of everyone who worked to make West “better than it’s ever been” after the April 17, 2013, blast at the West Fertilizer Co. plant. A dozen emergency responders and three residents died, and hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed.
The governor offered additional admiration for the people of West and the $300,000 memorial project, funded by donations.
“The community has displayed the trademark Texan resiliency,” Abbott said in a tweet.
The memorial project was led by West resident Joe Pustejovsky, whose son, Joey, was a member of the West Volunteer Fire Department and one of the 15 people who died.
“It’s always been let’s pull together, let’s get it together,” Pustejovsky said.