Brazos Valley Media Form Fund for Firefighters

UPDATE: There's been an overwhelming amount of support for the families of the Bryan firefighters killed and injured in a fire earlier this month.

So far, $51,685 have been donated to a relief account set up by local media. KBTX Media, The Eagle, WTAW, and Candy 95 are collecting donations at any of The Bank and Trust locations in Bryan or College Station.

There's still time for you to give. Just ask for the "BV Media Giving Back" fund.

KBTX Media, The Eagle and WTAW/Candy 95 are collecting funds for the families of two Bryan firefighters killed in the line of duty and a pair
of their fellow public servants who were critically injured during the rescue attempt.

A fund has been set up by Brazos Valley Media Giving Back and donations can be made at any of the The Bank and Trust locations: 2900 S. Texas Ave., 3400 Texas 21, 1920 W. Villa Maria Road, Suite 202, all in Bryan, or the College Station location, 2305 Texas Ave., S.

Please make the check out to BV Media Giving Back, and note in the “memo” line that it’s for Bryan firefighters.

Lt. Eric Wallace, a 36-year-old father of five and 13-year veteran of the department, was pronounced dead at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Groesbeck Street not far from Bryan's main headquarters on William Joel Bryan Jr. Street near downtown.

Lt. Gregory Pickard, 54, died at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston after suffering serious burns. He had served the department for 32 years.

Firefighter Ricky D. Mantey Jr., 30, and probationary firefighter Mitchel Moran, 21, also were taken to University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston where they were listed in critical condition Saturday evening.

The three media organizations — television, newspaper and radio — teamed up before to gather donations for those impacted by the wildfires in 2011.

KBTX General Manager Mike Wright lamented that everyone wants to help the Bryan firefighters in some way, and this fund is just one way residents can do so.

"In situations like this, the heart of the community is heavy," Wright said. "We all feel the sadness, we all have a stake in what happens here, and part of our calling is to take care of each other. We are always better together."

Eagle Editor Kelly Brown said she's always impressed and inspired by how Brazos Valley residents respond to their neighbors who are hurting.

"Whether it's a wildfire that's erased 30 homes, a deadly explosion that's rocked the region, fatal car crashes, horrific diseases in which the family doesn't have insurance — whatever the tragedy, whatever the pain, this community gives back in many different ways," Brown said. "Last night's tragedy reminds us that every single hour of every day there are firefighters, paramedics, police officers and dispatchers taking care of us."

Ben Downs, who oversees Bryan Broadcasting, said giving back to these families is the very least we all can do to show our support and appreciation.

"First responders like Lts. Wallace and Pickard are a foundation of society - they fight disaster from closer than I ever will," Downs said. "We call them when there's trouble and they need to know that when things go bad, we have their back. It's what we can do for the people willing to put our safety ahead of their own."