Local fire chief, "Moonshiners" star hits road to help victims in West, Texas
PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VA -
As the City of West, Texas tries to recover from last week's deadly factory explosion, a local firefighter and reality TV star is on a mission to help them.
Tim Smith might be best known as the star of Discovery Channel's hit series "Moonshiners" but he's also the Chief of the Climax Volunteer Fire Department in Pittsylvania County. He says when he learned that several West firefighters were killed and much of their equipment was destroyed in the blast, he was "heartbroken" -- and wanted to do something about it.
"They give it all," said Smith. "And that's a hero. I'm dedicated to those guys."
So he and another Climax firefighter hit the road Monday to kick off what they're calling "Operation West Texas". They're driving the nearly 1,300 miles from Chatham, VA to West, TX, stopping at dozens of fire stations along the way to collect money and supplies for the West Fire Department.
"I'm pretty sure it will be adventurous," said Smith. "We look forward to it and we've got a lot of guys out there that are looking forward to meeting us. And I think we're gonna have no problem at all."
Smith says he put "Operation West Texas" together quickly, which is why he's still in the process of adding stops as fire departments call him. Before he left Monday morning, he said he'd received calls from about 40 departments that wanted to help the cause.
"That's what this is all about," said Smith. "This just brothers coming together to help other brothers in another part. We all do the same job."
Smith says the goal is to be in West by Thursday, which is the same day a memorial service for the victims will take place in nearby Waco.
If you'd like to help, Smith is asking you to make donations to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, which has set up a special fund for the West, TX victims. You can mail checks made out to the NFFF to:
NFFF c/o West, Texas Fire and EMS Fallen Hero Fund, P.O. Drawer 498 Emmitsburg, MD 21727
You can also make an online donation to the NFFF fund by visiting: