“I got a text message saying Steven wanted some sweet tea from Prasek’s,” Louise Volunteer Fire Chief Tommy Johnston said, adding the simple request from an injured fireman helped lift the spirits of the entire department.
Steven Henderson was one of two Louise volunteers struck by a pickup Monday night on FM 647 as they attempted to check a tire on their fire truck.
Suffering possible internal injuries, Henderson was transported from the scene via Life Flight helicopter ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
The cost of his injuries should be covered by the department’s insurance policies, Johnston said, but added they were still collecting funds for auxiliary expenses like family travel, parking fees and other items not covered.
“We were still in service at the time on the trash fire (when the accident happened),” Johnston said.
Those wanting to make donations, for now, can do so through the Louise or El Campo Volunteer Fire Departments, or via Scott Charbula or Bill Morris at Superior Motor Parts.
Former Louise VFD Chief Bobby Popp was the other man struck. He was released from Oak Bend Hospital Tuesday.
“He was in good spirits. He’s banged up and his thoughts are with Steven,” Johnston said.
The local communities have stepped up to help, the fire chief added, saying he’s grateful for the support.
“It’s an amazing community. El Campo and Ganado. It’s amazing the people calling,” he said, adding “the communities of Louise and El Campo always work together.”
The two were returning to Louise about 8:56 p.m. Monday from a call, traveling north on FM 647, south of U.S. 59.
At that point, the firefighters were struck by a 2016 black Dodge 3500 dually pickup driven by LVFD firefighter John Roades who was traveling south on FM 647. Department of Public Safety investigators say Roades, who was leaving the station en route home, did not see the two men in the roadway.
Roades was not injured and no charges have been filed.
The Louise VFD has a chicken fried steak dinner fundraiser starting at 11 a.m. Sunday at the fire station which had been planned long before Monday’s crash.
The $10 plates are to go or dine in. They are not sold in advance.
The department, Johnston said, is hoping to sell out.