Survivors share stories of close calls as West cleans up




Posted on April 19, 2013 at 11:16 PM

WEST, Texas -- All over West, hundreds of people from volunteers to residents are lending a healing hand.

In historic downtown, crews from The Glass Doctor, a glass repair company, are doing what they do best.

"We are here. We care," said CEO Mark Liston. "This is part of our community. We just shipped some wood over here and came so we help these people out."

They boarded up the windows at Vanessa Williams' business at no charge.

But for the mom, the damage at her repo business is minor. Her son Austin is still with her.

"My son lost his home, my ex-husband, they lost their home," Williams said. "He saved his life."

Austin's dad shielded him from the explosion. Their home is just a few miles from the fertilizer chemical storage facility.

"We fell down and he went over me," the eight-year-old said.

Austin is grateful for his dad because he survived, but so many of the family's friends didn't.

"I knew a lot of [victims,]" said Wesley Gatlin, Vanessa Williams' boyfriend. "It's a small town and I know everyone. It's just hard."

It's tough to move on when so many families are hurting. But, healing starts with kindness.

And on every corner in West, there's evidence of that -- support can be found everywhere, in neighborhoods, at churches, and at the local store.

All that support is giving so many so much hope.

"It's amazing all the support, all the people pitching in, doing anything," Gatlin said. "Together, we can together through this."