First responders around state honored at Star of Texas Awards

Last October, Austin firefighter Jeremiah Casares ran into a burning building like it was nothing.

“I don't know if it's bravery or stupidity. They say you have to have a screw loose to be a fireman. I might have a screw loose,” said Casares.

The fire broke out at the Dry Creek condos off 2222. The second floor caved in and trapped Casares and two of his partners. They all got severe burns.

“I was in the burn center for more than seven weeks. I had multiple surgeries and skin grafts,” said Casares.

According to Governor Greg Abbott and the rest of the state, this act was clearly bravery.

“It feels good, but there are a lot of men and women in public service who do a lot,” said Casares.

Casares was one of many honored at the Star of Texas Awards. It was created to recognize those peace officers, firefighters and emergency responders who died in the line of duty or were injured severely. First responders from around the state were honored, including one who was killed simply for wearing a uniform: Deputy Darren Goforth of Harris County.

“Respect for our law enforcement officers must be restored in the United States of America,” said Abbott.

Austin police's James Pittman was shot in the knee with an AK-47 during a swat raid.

“It's kind of difficult for me to accept this award. I don't really consider myself the hero here,” said Pittman.

Although they are humble, the state of Texas agrees these heroes deserve every bit of recognition.

“The cliche 'we are running to the fight when everyone else is running away,’ not everybody can do it but it's something that we....I just do it,” said Pittman.

There were in total two Austin police officers honored, including Pittman. The other, Armando Perez. They are both still recovering from injuries.