Governor Rick Perry and hundreds of family members honored police officers, firefighters and first responders that were killed or severely injured in the line of duty today with Star of Texas Awards.
The governor gave out the awards during a somber ceremony this morning at Shoreline Church in North Austin.
Receiving special awards were Kaufman County District Attorney Michael McLelland and his wife Cynthia, who were gunned down in their home in March.
Their deaths came two months after the assassination of assistant DA Mark Hasse, who was among 17 slain peace officers who received awards.
Four Houston firefighters that were killed in a May 31, motel and restaurant blaze were also given awards as well as four firefighters who were injured in that fire.
Many of the honorees were volunteer firefighters who rushed to west to fight the April 17, fertilizer plant fire that eventually triggered a massive explosion, killing 15 people.
"We feel like it's getting easier, but when we have events like this it kind of rips the scab back off. But we know people are doing it because they loved them. We want to come to every event they have for them. So we appreciate it we know they're doing it because they appreciate what they did. And that they died in the line of the duty. Robert and Doug wouldn't have it any other way," Allison Snokhaus, whose husband and brother-in-law were killed in the West explosion.
The Star of Texas Award was created to honor police and first-responders who exhibited extraordinary service to the state. Some 363 awards have been distributed since it was first given out in 2004.