ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Rangers held “City of West” night at the Ballpark in Arlington Saturday, providing tickets, transportation, t-shirts and food for more than 4,500 West, Texas residents.
West resident Ruben Izzaguire’s family was grateful for the tickets.
“West has been through so much. The fact that the Rangers did that is just so amazing,” said Christy Gonzalez, Izzaguire’s daughter.
West Mayor Tommy Muska said the ballgame was a much needed distraction for the residents in his town who have been through so much turmoil over the past two months.
“They need normalcy in their lives right now more than anything,” he said. “They’ve gone through two and a half months of a nightmare and to have to come out and smile and have some fun, it’s important.”
Muska said it was perfect timing. More than 60 of the homes damaged in the fertilizer plant explosion in April have now been demolished but Muska says his town has already started rebuilding.
As part of “West Night” fans donated new and used baseball and softball equipment that will benefit youth programs in West.
The Rangers wore red jersey’s with a patch saying “Support West.” The jerseys were raffled off at the end of the game.
In Pre-game ceremonies, the West High School Jr. Historian Czech Club dancers performed in the outfield to traditional Czech music.
The Rangers played a touching tribute to the 15 people who died in the explosion.
First responders received a standing ovation from the crowd and were later greeted by Nolan Ryan and David Murphy.
The experience touched many people’s hears.
“You know, you hear so much bad in the world but there is a lot of good people,” said Steve Varnek, West’s Mayor Pro-Tem. “And the Texas Rangers are on the top of that list.”
Designated hitter Lance Berkman gifted the West Fire department with a used fire truck and five injured first responders threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Thousands of dollars were donated to the town for relief efforts.
“The face of the city of West has changed forever, but it’s going to be changed for the good,” said Muska.
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