Those who wear the badge, and have been killed or injured in the line of duty this past year, were recognized Thursday at the state capitol. Among the 28 to receive the Star of Texas award are 4 central Texas first law enforcement responders.
The Texas House Chamber was filled Thursday morning with law enforcement officers, fire fighters, first responders and their families. Governor Greg Abbott praised the group for their dedication.
"You represent the very best of Texas,” said Governor Abbott.
28 were honored during the Star of Texas Awards ceremony. Among those recognized -- 4 from central Texas who died in the line of duty.
Travis County Deputy Jessica Hollis
Hutto Police Sgt Chris Kelley.
Little River/ Academy Police Chief Lee Dixon
Star flight nurse Kristin McLain.
With each award- Governor Greg Abbott embraced family members of those who were lost.
"He was thanking me for Lee's service and everything, and how much he appreciated it,” said Mary Dixon.
The medals - and certificates presented to each family were held tightly. But the symbolic gesture - while appreciated by the families of the fallen, it cannot ease the pain.
"We are just trying to take it one day at a time, one step at a time, so this is one way to honor him and we are just trying to honor him by taking our steps forward and doing what we need to do to bring justice. And to grieve for my husband and my kids grieve for their dad,” said Michelle Kelley.
The governor also mentioned Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth during the ceremony. Goforth was ambushed and murdered a convenient store- last month. He will be recognized next year but the circumstances surrounding his death remains a concern for all those wearing the badge.
“With everything that is going on now days it’s hard to know who has our back, and who doesn't,” said Seguin Police officer Gerald Guerrero.
Guerrero is one of 21 injured in the line of duty to receive the award. He was hit by a minivan during a traffic stop last year and lost his left leg. For him, the anti-cop rhetoric that has dominated the summer has been difficult to watch.
"To cope with it, you always have to watch your back, it’s kind of hard not knowing who is going to walk up behind you and you always have to be alert and be ready,” said Guerrero.
With this new and troublesome anti-cop climate in mind -- the ceremony closed with a prayer for peace - protection and comfort.