LEVELLAND, TX -- Annette Sykora talks about her family's ties to West on the one year anniversary of the fertilizer plant explosion.
"Yeah, pretty much just had to load up and see what we could do to help," Pat Sykora said one year ago, in West. He and his family packed up after they heard about the explosion and drove through the night to his hometown, West, to help out in any way they could.
"They need that love today," Pat's wife Annette said Thursday.
In the days following the explosion that killed 15, the Sykora family first used the Sykora Family Ford in West as a place to gather donations for anyone who needed them.
That wasn't where the Sykora family stopped though. They then continued accepting donations at their home dealership in Levelland to also take any donations from people in West Texas to give to those who needed them in West.
"We had so many people bring by giftcards, which was great, because that way, those needs could be met, you know, it was hard to know what that need was going to be for a while, and there's still a lot of recovery," Annette said.
That generosity has been something that has stuck with Annette through the last year as she's continued to visit West and help and watch her in-laws rebuild.
"You're overwhelmed with gratitude, with people's spirit to help others," she said.
She also said her husband Pat knew some of the first responders who lost their lives that night.
"Just thinking about those that lost loved ones," she said. "And you know, it's really going to be all fresh for them again today."
Now is a time, she said, to not only remember West, but also, it's a time to look forward. "I think this is a time where you just count your blessings," she said. "Seeing the building around West and the way the town has responded has been really remarkable."
Annette said her in-laws did have to rebuild their home, but they were able to rebuild on the same property.