WEST, Texas — The West Police Department is celebrating its chaplain after a trip to bring food and supplies to Ukrainians.
Chaplain Edward Smith spent two weeks in Ukraine with his non-profit, Mission Harvest, and saw the destruction of the war with his own eyes.
"We're standing in West where I came from that explosion at the West fertilizer plant," Smith said. "It looked a lot like that, what happened in West, but on a scale that you can't imagine."
The chaplain's ties to West began in 2013 after the town's devastating fertilizer plant explosion. Smith helped provide counsel in town, arriving just hours after the explosion.
"I don't love the disasters, but I like coming in and knowing I'm helping mitigate the suffering people are going through," he said.
Smith and Mission Harvest helped distribute food and supplies. He also advised church leaders on how to give support to traumatized citizens.
"That helps them deal with the refugees and what their brains are dealing with, what they've seen and what they lost," Smith said. "I did that same training for people here."
West police chief Darryl Barton said he wasn't surprised to hear about Smith's decision to assist the war-torn country.
"That's what he does," Barton said. "We're proud that he represents the city of West in the way that he does."
Smith plans to head back to Ukraine in August and plans to bring pieces of West along with him, according to Barton.
"He has memorabilia from the police department that he's going to take with him on his next mission and hand out to some of the Ukrainian soldiers and police officers over there," Barton said.
Mission Harvest America is an organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid around the world. To learn more about its mission and how you can support it, visit the organization'swebsite.