KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott presented the 2018 Star of Texas Awards last week to peace officers, firefighters, and first responders who demonstrated heroism in service to their communities and the State of Texas, according to a release from the governor's office.
At least three of those honored during the Sept. 11 ceremony have ties to or were involved in incidents in Kaufman County for which they were honored.
Forney High School graduates and brothers, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Danny Shaw and his younger brother, Dallas County Community College District Police Department Corporal Bryan Shaw, were injured by gunfire in separate incidents last year.
In November 2016, Trooper Shaw, of Forney, Texas, was shot while on assignment on the Texas-Mexico border when a firefight erupted on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande.
In July 2016, Corporal Shaw was injured in the line of duty during a deadly shooting in Dallas, Texas, in which five police officers were killed.
DPS Trooper Roy Tower, of Harrison County, was seriously injured and airlifted to a Dallas-area hospital when his patrol vehicle was struck by an 18-wheeler as he slowed in traffic congestion on U.S. Highway 80 near Forney.
The Shaw brothers were recognized with a resolution during the 85th Legislature with the passage of HR 671. Additionally, the Texas Department of Public Safety honored Danny Shaw with a Purple Heart during a December 2017 ceremony.
“Our peace officers, firefighters, and first responders bravely serve our communities, but we must never forget that they are also members of our communities,” stated Governor Abbott. “They are our neighbors, friends, and loved ones who go to work every day because they care deeply about those they serve ─ so much so that they are willing to put their own lives on the line to keep us safe. I thank all the brave men and women here today, and those who couldn’t be, for your courage and the sacrifices you make to serve Texans.”
"The Star Of Texas Awards were created in 2003 by House Bill 1937 to honor and commemorate individuals who made profound commitments while performing their duties as peace officers, firefighters and emergency medical first responders," according to the release. "HB 1937 also designated September 11th of every year as Texas First Responders Day. Today’s ceremony honored and recognized 44 individuals for their remarkable courage and tremendous sacrifices in the line of duty, including some who tragically gave their lives."
The 2018 recipients of the Star of Texas Awards are:
Firefighters Injured in the Line of Duty
- William An – Dallas Fire-Rescue – (Dallas County)
- Mark Mendez – Nixon Fire Department – (Gonzales County)
Peace Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
- Damon Charles Allen – Texas Department of Public Safety – (Limestone County)
- Kenneth Malcomb Copeland – San Marcos Police Department – (Hays County)
- Mark Gregory Diebold – Tarrant County Constable Precinct 5 – (Tarrant County)
- David Gomez – Department of Homeland Security, United States Border Patrol – (El Paso County)
- Richard Wayne Hale – Office of Inspector General, Juvenile Justice Department – (Cooke County)
- Rogelio Martinez – US Customs and Border Patrol – (Culberson County)
- Miguel Moreno III – San Antonio Police Department – (Bexar County)
- Thomas Patrick Nipper – Texas Department of Public Safety – (Bell County)
- Steve A. Perez – Houston Police Department – (Harris County)
- Monty Dale Platt – West Texas A&M University Police Department – (Randall County)
- Rogelio Santander Jr. – Dallas Police Department NE Patrol – (Dallas County)
- David Charles Sherrard – Richardson Police Department – (Collin County)
- Kenneth Joseph Starrs – South Texas Specialized Crimes & Narcotics Task Force – (Kleberg County)
- Shana R. Tedder – Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Christina Melton Crain Unit – (Coryell County)
- Charles M. Whites – Round Rock Police Department – (Williamson County)
- Elise Ann Ybarra – Abilene Police Department – (Taylor County)
Peace Officers Injured in the Line of Duty
- Carla Strauser – Arlington Police Department – (Tarrant County)
- William Cody Brewer – Arlington Police Department – (Tarrant County)
- Jay Elton Johnson – Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office – (Caldwell County)
- Jesus Perez Balderamas – City of Selma Police Department – (Bexar County)
- Robert McMillin, Jr. – Dallas Police Department – (Dallas County)
- Crystal Almeida – Dallas Police Department – (Dallas County)
- Juan Hernandez, Jr. – Dallas Police Department – (Dallas County)
- Bryan Gale Shaw – Dallas County Community College District Police – (Dallas County)
- John Abbott – Dallas County Community College District Police – (Dallas County)
- Justin Barrington Gay – Harris County Constable’s Office Precinct 4 – (Harris County)
- Benjamin Gieselman – Hays County Sheriff’s Office – (Hays County)
- Terry Mahan – Jack County Sheriff’s Office – (Jack County)
- Cody Downs – Jasper County Sheriff’s Office – (Jasper County)
- Roy Tower – Texas Department of Public Safety – (Harrison County)
- David Nelson Alcantar – Texas Department of Public Safety – (Guadalupe County)
- Carmen A. Griffith – Texas Department of Public Safety – (Fannin County)
- Lyndon Jay Smith – Texas Department of Public Safety – (Walker County)
- Zakary Ray Benge – Texas Parks and Wildlife – (Houston County)
- Henry Alvarado – Texas Parks and Wildlife – (Jasper County)
- Vu Bang Nguyen – Texas Parks and Wildlife – (Galveston County)
- William Frederick Graeber – Waco Police Department – (McLennan County)
- Danny Gene Shaw – Texas Department of Public Safety – (Dallas County)
- Mario Casares – Laredo Police Department – (Webb County)
- David Lee Leal – Rosenberg Police Department – (Fort Bent County)
- Emory Joseph King – Brazoria County D.A.’s Office – (Brazoria County)
- Christopher Todd Coots – Flower Mound Police Department – (Denton County)