John Caraway and James Dockray were as shocked and saddened as the rest of of Texas at the events that shook the small town of West on April 17. It was on that dark day that a fire at the West Fertilizer Co. caused the plant to explode, killing 15, injuring hundreds of others and causing millions of dollars in damage.

Caraway decided something needed to be done to help out the small volunteer fire department rocked by the tragedy, and the best way he knew how was to do what he does — make music. Caraway sings and plays guitar in the band DD & the Studebakers, laying down licks for fans of 50s rock and getting a little twangy for the country music aficionado.

When Caraway got with his band mates and formed a plan, he figured who better to help get the word out to the firefighting community than Anna’s James Dockray? Dock, as the affable Dockray is known, began to help Caraway organize and spread the word to fire departments all around the area.

What has come out of months of hard work is an indoor benefit concert slated for July 20 at Rock Creek Ranch Events Center in McKinney. Gates will open at 5 p.m. and tickets are available at the door. The band will play from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The $20 ticket includes dinner, cold drinks, entertainment and dancing, and those 12-and-under get in free. All proceeds go to benefit the West Volunteer Fire Department, which is expected to have a representative or two on hand that Saturday night.

What those West reps will see is a great show. DD & the Studebakers is a with the nine piece band with six singers that plays a mix of everything from George Jones and Merle Haggard to Elvis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and the Platters. All in all, the band expects to perform a full-complement of 60 songs on the night. In addition, funny-man Bill Goodman will be a welcome part of the show.

That night of music, laughs, eating and dancing will certainly go to a good cause as the West Volunteer Fire Department was decimated by the April 17 explosion. If ever there was a worthy reason to put on a show, this is it.

Caraway and Dock are hoping that local firefighters and the general public will show up en masse to support the cause. They also hope to see West representatives, but if not, Caraway and band member Tammy Wortham will deliver the proceeds by hand to West. Caraway said he’s been on the phone with the West representatives and everything is in order.

"I think they really, really appreciate it," said Caraway.

Event Information

West Benefit

When: July 20, 2013. Gate opens at 5 p.m.

Where: Rock Creek Ranch Events Center: from Hwy. 75 in McKinney go west on 380 (University) for 2.5 miles. Turn right on FM 1461 (Lake Forest) then go 4.4 miles until you see the entrance to Rock Creek Ranch on your right. Check for additional details.

How Much: Tickets are $20 at the door and include dinner, cold drinks, entertainment and dancing. 12-and-under get in free.