TEMPLE, TX — Making a 60-mile trek from Temple to West each April, one Temple area man, Danny McDonald, rides in honor of the 15 lives lost that fateful day.
Saturday, April 17 2021 marks the eighth anniversary of the tragic West Fertilizer Plant Explosion and the beginning of the mass recovery effort of Central Texas.
"For this, it's to honor and remember all of those that we lost that day, there were 15 lost that day and 12 of them were firefighters," said McDonald.
Each year on the anniversary of the explosion, McDonald has quietly parked his truck at Temple Fire and Rescue Station 1, and rode his bike the 60 miles north to West, making sure to stop and pay respect to each volunteer fire department on his journey.
"I learned that he basically does it on his own for no notoriety or recognition you know, so I thought, somebody needs to know about this, this is pretty amazing," said Temple Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Ron Stewart.
"Well you have to understand Danny to understand why he does this, he is just a servants heart, he always puts others before his own needs, his own pain, he's had two spinal surgeries this year, and he's still doing it knowing it's going to be unbearably painful, who can't be on the side of that and be on that team" explained Battalion Chief Stewart.
Dedicating every ride to the people lost that fateful day, as well as selecting a cause in the community every year. This year McDonald has chosen a GoFundMe for a young boy born with a brain condition, whose link can be found by clicking here.
This year Temple Fire and Rescue hope McDonald will have a crowd see him off, and hope fellow area cyclists join McDonald for the ride.
"I thought it'd be cool if like there were some people that are listening that ride bikes that want to come and ride with him, in my mind, it should be like a Forset Gump thing where he starts out running by himself and by the end there's hundreds of people with him, I think it'd be really cool if it'd end up being that," said Battalion Chief Stewart.
McDonald's wish is to bring the community together, honoring the fallen and supporting local people.
"Keep the family members and fellow officers in their thoughts that day because every year when it comes around, anyone whose lost a loved one knows those dates are hard," said McDonald
Explaining no matter the year or circumstance, nothing has stopped McDonald or his dedication to giving back to the community.
"We're behind you, we support you, and if there's anything that we can do as a department, as a shift, as an individual please let us know because its something we want to be behind, I want to be on that team," said Battalion Chief Stewart.
Saturday, April 17 McDonald is meeting at Temple Fire and Rescue Station 1, located at 210 N Third St Temple, TX 76501. McDonald will be arriving at 6:45 A.M. and will be leaving on his ride at 7 A.M.
Temple Fire and Rescue encourage the community to come down to see him off, as well as any local cyclists to ride alongside him.