Texans work together following Eagle Pass Tragedy
AUSTIN, TX -- Our community was hit by a devastating tornado this past week. Sadly, seven people were killed in Eagle Pass and Maverick County, along with three people in our Mexican sister city, Piedras Negras. There were at least 76 injuries, and more than 190 homes destroyed or damaged.
Our hearts go out to Maverick County during this tragedy. I have made many visits to this wonderful part of Texas, and I feel a deep connection to my constituents there. After hearing of the devastation from Maverick County Judge Jose "Pepe" Aranda, I immediately contacted Governor Perry and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst that night to ensure that all possible emergency relief efforts were underway. The day after the storms, I flew to Eagle Pass with State Representative Tracy King, where we joined Governor Rick Perry to tour the devastation. I have also requested that Governor Perry request emergency assistance from the federal government, which has been done.
Fortunately, the emergency response from the State and relief organizations has been swift and comprehensive. The Texas State Operations Center was activated shortly after the tornado struck. First responders included the San Antonio Medical Strike Team, consisting of ambulance units, one trauma trailer, and one communications trailer; a search and rescue team and an incident management team from the Texas Forestry Service; 80 soldiers with vehicles, communications center, and a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter from Texas Military Forces; and an Environmental Strike Team from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The Red Cross and Salvation Army were on the ground to offer relief to victims within hours.
It will take months to rebuild damaged or destroyed homes and schools -- and no one knows how long to heal the wounds and broken hearts. To assist, I ask those who are able to consider making donations to the American Red Cross--San Antonio Chapter, which is collecting funds for Eagle Pass Tornado Relief. Checks can be made out to: "American Red Cross--San Antonio Area Chapter" with a note in the memo line reading "Eagle Pass tornado victims," and sent to:
American Red Cross -- San Antonio Area Chapter
3642 East Houston,
San Antonio, TX 78213
You can also call the Red Cross toll-free at 1-866-788-8262 or donate online at http://www.saredcross.org.
Please also keep in mind those storm victims across the border in Piedras Negras, Mexico. When Americans were seeking shelter following Hurricane Katrina, our Mexican neighbors generously supplied a full kitchen cantina and hot meals to hurricane victims in San Antonio. We have the opportunity now to return the favor.
We never know the when we might need the help of others following a natural disaster. Let us be thankful that we can do our part today to help those in need. I speak for the entire Texas Senate in saying that our prayers are with the people of Maverick County. May God bless you.