Things just seem to come together when individuals within a community work together to make a difference. In September, the McKinney Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCVB) began a campaign to collect donations for the victims of the Bastrop County fires where, according to sources in Bastrop, more than 1,500 homes have been destroyed. Deemed the most destructive wildfire in Texas history, the fire destroyed 25,000 acres in Bastrop County.
MCVB Executive Director, Diann Bayes, said that her mother had been the victim of a fire and she witnessed, first hand, how devastating that experience was. Bayes and the MCVB staff were inspired to take action, and take action they did.
Photo: Paul Pogue loads donations for victims of Bastrop fires at MCVB
“I had been talking with friends in the industry (convention and visitors bureau) in Bastrop, as as they described what was happening down there, I knew that the victims of the fire would need everything – the basics, and I wanted to do something to help,” Bayes said.
Meanwhile, McKinney resident Paul Pogue, of Pogue Construction, and his friend, Brian Ballard, of Allen, were returning from Joplin, MO, where they had been volunteering in the aftermath of the deadly tornado that struck in May, when they came up with the idea of forming a local non-profit to assist when disaster strikes. They came up with Minutemen Disaster Response.
“We (Pogue and Ballard) and literally came up with the idea while we were driving home from Joplin,” said Pogue. “We came up with the name, searched on my iPad to see if the name was available and it was.”
Pogue said the volunteers have taken the disaster preparedness course so that they can immediately come to the rescue when a disaster hits.
Bayes contacted local schools, organizations and residents, and the MCVB office at 1575 Heritage Dr., became a temporary warehouse for clothing, food, toys and various other necessities, which will be donated to the fire victims. Bayes also contacted Pogue, who was willing to donate the use of the Minuteman Disaster Response truck to transport the donations to Bastrop.
McKinney Christian Academy dropped off two truckloads of items that students had collected, local Girl Scout troop delivered donations, and students at McKinney North High School pitched in with donations as well.
The donations, which were loaded onto the Minuteman truck on Thursday, October 13, will be delivered to Bastrop on October 26.
To make monetary donations, please call 512.332.8661.
Executive Director of MCVB, Diann Bayes, surveys donations that were temporarily stored in the MCVB office in McKinney.