Erbie and Betty Necessary have driven more than 150 miles this week ferrying food to law enforcement officers, firefighters and journalists involved in the Mount Carmel standoff.

The clash began Sunday when federal officials tried to serve a warrant on Vernon Howell, leader of the Branch Davidian religious cult.

Four federal officers and two cult members were confirmed killed in the initial shootout.

As the standoff dragged on, media and law enforcement personnel camped out at a checkpoint established near the compound.

A nearby homeowner, who did not want her name printed, opened her home to them.

“I wanted to do it because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

A seemingly endless parade of police and journalists subsequently filed through her house to use the bathroom and telephone there.

Killeen police SWAT team member Karl Ortiz praised the Necessarys and the homeowner for their help.

“They were fantastic,” Ortiz said. “Their hospitality was incredible. They should be commended. They should get a medal of honor.”

The Necessarys spent much of the day going to Bellmead and area businesses taking donations of food.

Erbie Necessary is a retired Bellmead businessman, and Betty Necessary is a member of the Bellmead Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.

Winn-Dixie donated sandwiches and chips; Tradinghouse Bar and Grill sent sandwiches; Luby’s Cafeteria and Krispy Fried Chicken sent fried chicken, H-E-B Food Store provided donuts, Sam’s Wholesale Club gave coffee, sweet rolls and bread, and Whataburger provided hamburgers.

“We just wanted to help out,” Betty Necessary said. “We just wanted to do something.”

The couple fixed five dozen sandwiches Monday and hauled 50 gallons of coffee to the checkpoint at Old Mexia Road and Double E Ranch Road.

The firefighters were there to man a Bellmead Fire Department pumper truck stationed near the checkpoint.

Betty Necessary said the couple will try to keep supplying people at the checkpoint until the standoff ends.

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part Two appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

Read the accounts of April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.