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To those not from central Texas, West sounds like a direction, not a town. But West, TX is a town about 20 miles north of Waco on Highway 35, a central point of the Czech population and home to a Czech festival, a number of fine bakeries and ethnic food stores and restaurants, and a number of good, hard working people.

Earlier this week, a massive series of explosions at the West Fertilizer Company leveled part of the town of West. The community of responders is still looking for people buried in the rubble.  Ammonium Nitrate is not something to mess with. Some reports say the search should be completed sometime today, but things look pretty grim.

Boston has (understandably) taken center stage this week, but the people of West are hurting as well, and their community will continue to hurt just like the other damaged communities will after this week (My heart goes out to those who are being evacuated for flooding in the midwest as well). The Yellowdog Grannie has some information from the front lines of the rescue work – you should go read her blog if you aren’t familiar with her.

I went to college in Waco, and frequently went to West for pastries. If you’ve never had a handmade kolache, you’re missing out. While I was glad to see that my favorite of the West bakeries – the Czech Stop – survived the blast, I am even more glad to see that they are actively involved in helping get people back on their feet and care for the first responders. My heart hurts for this town – a town that I knew only by association really – and for my inability to do more than donate a little money.

And so, like I did earlier this week (and am still doing) for Boston, I turn to prayer.

Great Freyja,
Who flew like a falcon over the whole earth in search of your lost husband,
Place your falcon cloak over the shoulders of those who search through burned homes and buildings
Bring them peace in their terrible work.

May your sharp eyes and swift wings speed their search
May they find those who yet live.
Strengthen their hearts, which are already full of care for the wounded,
And bless all those who would aid them.

May the dead be at peace, and their families comforted.
May the survivors be at peace, and their recovery swift.

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