Congressman Will Hurd reflects on time as student president during Bonfire collapse

Published: Nov. 18, 2019 at 8:42 AM CST
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Most Aggie students today weren't alive before the Bonfire collapse in 1999. For Congressman Will Hurd, it was one of the biggest traditions on campus.

"When I was a freshman a good friend was head stack red pot he was the senior student in charge. He was the guy whose campaign I helped run for student body president. So, those are the memories I have going out with folks within our student union and student government and watching it burn," said Rep. Hurd.

But all of that changed one November day in Hurd's senior year while he was student body president. He took some other students to see a meteor shower and was only asleep for about an hour before he got the call.

"At the moment you have a lot of 18, 19, 20-year-olds whose first instinct is to rush to the pile of logs and start lifting them off their friends, not recognizing or understand that that was going to make the whole pile even more unstable. There was an early tension between the first responders and the students. My first order of business was getting all the students under control and ready to help when the first responders needed 50 people to move a log," said Hurd.

But that wasn't the last time Hurd would be out front in the crisis. He stood with university leaders right next to crews cleaning up the site that day. He even took part in the vigil at Reed Arena later that same evening. That's one of the moments he'll never forget.

"It's still hard for me to listen to the song amazing grace. It was sung at the candlelight vigil at reed arena that night. I think then lieutenant governor rick perry was the last to speak and when it was done everyone stayed there and some person started singing amazing grace and the entire crowd joined in. It was a moment that everyone was there will remember for the rest of their lives."