First Responders: The Heroes We Lost in West, Texas

Plant Explosion Victims, west, texas, first responders, fire fighters, heroes

The town of West, Texas remembers their fallen heroes.

The explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, took the lives of 14 and wounded over 200. Most of those who were lost were first responders from West and surrounding communities who were on the scene attempting to combat the fire preceding the blast. The first responders were fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons. These men lost their lives protecting their community, expressing their love through “acts of heroism” they way first responders across the nation do every single day.

As WISTV 10 reports, a memorial service will be held on Thursday to “honor the lives of more than 10 fallen firefighters who were killed,” on April, 17. Firefighters from South Carolina have been in West, to help plan the memorial and to assist the town through this difficult time.

The Associated Press also gathered the stories of some of these men, “with help from relatives, friends, and obituaries of the deceased released by local funeral homes.” Following is one of those profiles:

PERRY CALVIN: Father, husband, firefighter

Perry Calvin, 37, died responding to the fire at the fertilizer plant. His father, Phil Calvin, said Perry, a husband and father of two boys ages 9 and 2, was looking forward to his wife having a new baby around Thanksgiving.

He was a volunteer firefighter at the Navarro Mills and Martens fire departments and was attending EMS classes in West. He also was a student at the Hill County Fire College.

He was a self-employed farmer and loved the outdoors. He enjoyed horseback riding, rodeos, fishing and spending time with his family, a funeral home obituary said.

He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Ann Calvin, two sons, his father, a brother, two sisters, grandmother, nieces, nephews and other relatives.

To read more of the profiles compiled by the AP go here.

Photo: AP/Perry Wayne Calvin courtesy of Aderhold Funeral Home, Inc.


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About Kathryn DeHoyos

Kathryn DeHoyos currently resides on the outskirts of Austin, TX. She has 2 beautiful children, and is very happily un-married to her life partner DJ.


  1. It is the Good Men Project- why not call them Firemen?

    • Kathryn DeHoyos says:

      Because not all First Responders are Firemen.

      • True that- however in this case the eulogies were for men….
        Even NPR called them all what they were FireMEN…
        If we’re going to ID the Steubenville deviates as young men, turn about is fair play.

        • Kathryn DeHoyos says:

          I think you misunderstood me. When I said all first responders are not firemen it was not a gender thing, a first responder can be an EMT or a Police Officer as well as a fireman.. First Responder is a title in itself, and a proud one. I did not use the term “first responder” to be gender neutral, I used that because that is what they are, that is their title.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            Drew, the job description is of a firefighter. That’s what the AP stylebook calls for.

            Just get some perspective a moment. Kathryn wrote about hero men who gave their lives to help try and save other people.

            And the only comment on her article is criticizing her for using the proper term “firefighters”?

            Should we no longer call dads “parents” when they do a good thing? I can’t see a great dad doing great stuff and say, “You’re a great parent”?

  2. Say whatever you want to; your the professional

    To belabor my piss;, as this is the Good “Men” Project, which is often accused of misandry, when “Good Men” do “Good” things perhaps we should stress the “Men” part.
    The “Men” who sacrificed their lives in a vain attempt to save the homes of their families and neighbors were “Men”.
    Further, a very Un-scientific review of the April 15 pictures from Boston leave me with the impression that the majority of non- First Responders rendering succor and first aid are men.

    Leave that gender neutral stuff to places with gender neutral handles.
    Of course I am just a spear carrier in this opera , have no editorial standing and am already bored of my opinion.

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