Local Heads to West, Texas, to Serve as Grieving Counselor - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Local Volunteer Heads to West, Texas, to Serve as Grieving Counselor

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CORPUS CHRISTI (Kiii News) -

Up in the small town of West, near Waco, they have begun identifying the victims of last week's massive fertilizer explosion.

The majority of people killed in the catastrophe were rescue workers. So far, 14 bodies have been recovered from the blast site, but the recovery operations are still ongoing.

As you can imagine, coping with a tragedy like this is quite the task. A local pharmacist, who is also a counselor, is going to West Monday night to help the residents move forward.

Just this morning, David Tapscott, director of the clinic in Metro Ministries, got the call from the American Red Cross, asking him to drop everything and head to West to help the families.

"It's a tragedy. Out of the tragedy comes a lot of bonding," Tapscott said. "People showing how Americans in general are great people when it comes to helping others."

Tapscott is one of the few volunteers that the Red Cross has as grieving counselors. The Red Cross uses mental health professionals to respond to disasters like the one in West to provide emotional support to victims.

Tapscott will be staying at a church in West. The church will be providing the shelter and other services to the affected families. Since they will only be in West for a short time, they can provide only a brief intervention.

"To be that supportive presence, that shoulder to cry on, and emotional support that they need," Tapscott said.

Because they have such a large number of fatalities and are working such a big disaster, they will help the assessment teams on the damages and they will also  work with families that are burying loved ones. Tapscott has been to a few disasters and has some experience responding to things like this. He has been a part of Hurricane Sandy and Bastrop fire relief teams.

Tapscott is scheduled to be in West for at least 10 days, but he said that schedule could change.