In Wake Of Explosion At West, New Scholarship Honors First Responders

Jerry Chapman was a 26 year old volunteer firefighter and among the 12 first responders killed in the fertilizer explosion in West. Photo taken from the West Fallen Firefighters Facebook page
Volunteer firefighter Jerry Chapman was one week away from his final EMT exam when he responded to the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas. He died trying to save others.

Now a major education organization, the College Board, is honoring him and other first responders with a new scholarship.

Peter Kauffmann is with the group.

"This young man was very close to fulfilling a dream of his and taking his final exam and that’s when we started to think, ‘Well, how can we honor his legacy?’ So sadly we can’t offer opportunity to Mr. Chapman, but certainly in his honor we can deliver opportunity to others."  

The national scholarship will be for first responders and children of first responders who plan to go to college. The College Board expects to give the first award this school year.

For more information, email

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...