Valero gives $200,000 to Texas Panhandle First Responders Memorial

Texas Panhandle First Responder Memorial
Texas Panhandle First Responder Memorial(Texas Panhandle First Responder Memorial)
Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 6:52 AM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Fundraising efforts are underway for the Texas Panhandle First Responders Memorial.

Valero has provided a lead gift of $200,000 to the memorial. The donation kickstarts fundraising for the $1.5 million project.

The Texas Panhandle First Responders Memorial will honor and tell the stories of law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians who have died in the line of duty over the past 141 years.

“There are 91 first responders who have lost their lives in the Texas Panhandle, the first being back in 1882 when a deputy sheriff out of old Tascosa shot a bad guy outside of a saloon,” said Gary Pitner, board member of Friends of AJ Swope.

The petroleum company has a long history in the Panhandle area, according to Pitner, dating back to the early 1900s.

“There was an explosion at the McKee refinery in Sunray and 19 first responders gave their lives on that particular Sunday morning back in 1956 so it’s a very, very special place in Valero’s heart,” said Pitner.

The monument will name 91 fallen first responders and be the only memorial honoring all of the first responders of the Texas Panhandle who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

The space will also have an educational aspect to tell the story behind each name engraved on the Memorial.

“There will be a QR code where the attendees that are here at the memorial can go to that website and read the story about each of the 91,” said Pitner.

The project has raised over $550,000 so far and plans to start construction in 2024.