I received a call early this morning from my brother Scott, who lives in Big Spring. He told me there had been numerous explosions at the refinery. My heart stopped cold. Since 9/11, whenever the terrorist alert escalates, the oilfield cringes – and in West Texas, the Alon Refinery, along with the Midland Tank Farm, is always “a possible terrorist target”. This morning, though, that wasn’t where my mind went - I didn't even think about how, or why – instead, my mind went reeling way back, to my early youth. You see, our Mom retired from that same refinery, after 25 years of service. Back then, it was called the Cosden Refinery. You can go look at images of the Big Spring, Texas Alon Refinery explosion at Eric's Fireant Gazette.
My mind immediately catapulted back to another explosion - one that happened when I was maybe 11 or 12, I can’t remember. One of our family friends , Jerry Callahan, was burned badly in that explosion, and I believe others died. My most poignant memories are of things like the cloud of grief that settled over our house – and the immense pain our friend suffered, for the long months of his healing. I remember seeing the abject sorrow on the face of Jerry’s wife, Jo Dell, who happened to be one of my Mom’s coworkers, as well as her best friend.
And then, my mind went from that event to the present explosion…I immediately started praying for those possibly injured, their families, and the people of Alon and Big Spring.
Please keep these people in your prayers. The oilpatch is a dangerous place – but oil and gas, contrary to those media types who will tell you otherwise, is something America would be hard pressed to do without. And before you try to trash me on my stance, do yourself a favor.
Do your homework.