star of texas award

Gov. Abbott Honors First Responders With 2021 Star of Texas Awards

Ceremony honors 46 first responders either hurt or killed in the line of duty

RJ Hudson
NBC 5 News

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) hosted the 2021 Star of Texas Awards Friday, honoring peace officers, firefighters, and emergency first responders.

The ceremony honors those who have demonstrated extraordinary valor and courage in serving and protecting Texas communities.

"The Star of Texas Award is aptly named because it honors those whose self-sacrifice serves as a shining example of the very best of the Lone Star State," said Gov. Abbott in a statement. "I am proud to humbly recognize 46 remarkable individuals who have demonstrated incredible heroism in the line of duty."

"To these men and women and all law enforcement and first responders across our state, I cannot express the gratitude we have for all you do to keep our communities safe," Abbott said. "You represent the very best of Texas, and we are grateful for the risks you take every single day to keep us safe."

2021 Honorees

  • Officer Bradley Christopher Colman, of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, serves the people of Anderson County as a deputy sheriff. On Oct. 19, 2019, he was seriously injured in the line of duty while investigating a stolen vehicle. Colman has protected his community for five years.
  • Lt. Stacy Paul Seymore, of the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office, was seriously injured in a head-on collision while responding to a disturbance call on July 25, 2019. Seymore has protected his community for 29 years.
  • Sr. Police Officer Abel B. Garza, of the Austin Police Department, was seriously injured when he was hit at a high rate of speed while working as a barricade escort on Sept. 1, 2019. Garza has protected his community for 15 years.
  • Sr. Police Officer William Matthew Phipps, of the Austin Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty while conducting a funeral procession on Aug. 8, 2019. Phipps has protected his community for 19 years.
  • Deputy Sheriff John Andrew Rhoden, of the Bell County Sheriff’s Office, gave his life in the line of duty after being struck by a semi-truck while in pursuit of a stolen vehicle on April 26, 2020. Rhoden, who was also a field training officer, protected his community for 10 years. He was 31 years old.
  • Capt. Frazier Lee Holbert, of the Carrollton Fire Department, gave his life in the line of duty suffering from a massive stroke after responding to a 2 a.m. fire alarm call on Sept. 13, 2020. Holbert protected his community for 30 years. He was 57 years old.
  • Deputy Sheriff Eddy Luna, of the Comal County Sheriff’s Office, was seriously injured in the line of duty while attempting to serve a felony warrant on Aug. 20, 2020. Luna has protected his community for 30 years.
  • Officer Michael Lamar Love, of the Corpus Christi Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty while conducting a traffic stop when a drunken driver struck his patrol vehicle and one other officer on the scene on Jan. 31, 2020. Love has protected his community for seven years.
  • Sr. Police Officer Alan Michael McCollum, of the Corpus Christi Police Department, gave his life in the line of duty while conducting a traffic stop when a drunken driver struck his patrol vehicle and one other officer on the scene on Jan. 31, 2020. McCollum protected his community for seven years. He was 46 years old.
  • Firefighter Nicholas Gustavo Granados, of the Dallas Fire Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty when he was struck by a vehicle while responding to a medical emergency on Feb. 10, 2019. Granados has protected his community for six years.
  • Capt. Ronald J. Janek, of the Dallas Fire Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty when an exterior building wall collapsed on him while battling a raging fire on Feb. 13, 2020. Janek has protected his community for 30 years.
  • Firefighter Stephen Bernard Washington, of the Dallas Fire Department, gave his life in the line of duty on Oct. 14, 2017, after succumbing to illness caused by exposures during his fire service career. Washington protected his community for 32 years. He was 58 years old. 
  • Officer David Coffie, of the Dallas Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty on Feb. 18, 2021, responding to a shooting in a residential neighborhood. Upon arrival, officers exited their vehicle and were immediately met with gunfire. Coffie has protected his community for 14 years.
  • Cpl. James Farmer, of the Dallas Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty on Aug. 13, 2021, after being struck by a train. Farmer has protected his community for 16 years.
  • Officer Mitchell Aaron Penton, of the Dallas Police Department, gave his life in the line of duty on Feb. 13, 2021, after being struck by an intoxicated driver while investigating an accident. Penton protected his community for two years. He was 27 years old.
  • Officer Frederick Rubin, of the Dallas Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty on Feb. 18, 2021, responding to a shooting in a residential neighborhood. Upon arrival, officers exited their vehicle and were immediately met with gunfire. Rubin has protected his community for 32 years.
  • Deputy Joshua Garcia, of the Dimmit County Sheriff’s Office, was seriously injured in the line of duty on March 30, 2021, while conducting a traffic stop on a wanted fugitive. Garcia has protected his community for eight years.
  • Deputy Peter John Herrera, of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, gave his life in the line of duty while conducting a traffic stop on March 24, 2019. Herrera protected his community for 11 years. He was 35 years old.  
  • Firefighter Larry Wayne Marusik, of the Ellinger Volunteer Fire Department, gave his life in the line of duty while responding to a grass fire on March 23, 2018. Marusik protected his community for three years. He was 68 years old.
  • Officer Matthew Steven Brazeal, of the Fort Worth Police Department, was seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle during a pursuit on June 12, 2020. Brazeal has protected his community for 14 years.
  • Officer Colby Felix Rodgers, of the Georgetown Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty after being ambushed while responding to a burglary call on Feb. 6, 2020. Rodgers has protected his community for two years.
  • Officer Richard Hudson, of the Grapevine Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty after being struck by a vehicle that swerved into his lane on Oct. 10, 2017. Hudson has protected his community for 25 years.
  • Sgt. Christopher Charles Lewis Brewster, of the Houston Police Department, gave his life in the line of duty on Dec. 12, 2019, while responding to a family violence call where he was ambushed. Brewster protected his community for nine years. He was 32 years old.
  • Officer Wesley Fikes, of the Houston Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty while conducting a traffic stop on March 17, 2013. Fikes has protected his community for 11 years.
  • Officer Jason Michael Knox, of the Houston Police Department, gave his life in the line of duty on May 2, 2020, while conducting a helicopter rescue. Knox, who was a tactical flight officer, protected his community for eight years. He was 35 years old.
  • Sr. Officer Lloyd Charles Morrison II, of the Houston Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty on May 23, 2009, after being struck by a vehicle during a crash investigation. Morrison has protected his community for 18 years.
  • Deputy Odell McDuffie, Jr., of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, gave his life in the line of duty on Oct. 25, 2010, after being struck by another vehicle. McDuffie protected his community for 16 years. He was 43 years old.
  • Deputy Richard Edward Whitten, of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, gave his life in the line of duty on Feb. 3, 2020, while responding to a “shots fired” call. Whitten protected his community for four years. He was 52 years old. 
  • Officer Ismael Chavez, of the McAllen Police Department, gave his life in the line of duty on July 11, 2020, while responding to a disturbance call. Officer Chavez protected his community for two years. He was 38 years old.
  • Officer Edelmiro Garza, Jr., of the McAllen Police Department, gave his life in the line of duty on July 11, 2020, while responding to a disturbance call. Officer Garza protected his community for nine years. He was 45 years old.
  • Officer Zack Owens, of the Midland Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty on Aug. 31, 2019, while conducting a search for an active shooter. Owens has protected his community for six years. The award was accepted on Owens' behalf by Chief Seth Herman.
  • Cpl. Jose Luis Espericueta, Jr., of the Mission Police Department, gave his life in the line of duty on June 20, 2019, while pursuing an armed subject. Espericueta protected his community for 17 years. He was 44 years old. 
  • Cpl. Lonnie Bruce Harrison, of the Montgomery County Constable’s Office, was seriously injured in the line of duty on Aug. 10, 2020, after being struck by an impaired driver. Harrison has protected his community for 43 years.
  • Sgt. Kaila Marie Sullivan, of the Nassau Bay Police Department, gave her life in the line of duty on Dec. 10, 2019, while arresting a suspect for a felony warrant. Sullivan protected her community for 19 years. She was 43 years old. 
  • Cpl. James Tom Santana, of the Odessa Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty on Aug. 31, 2019, while conducting a search for an active shooter. Santana has protected his community for eight years.
  • Corporal Ted Yelley, of the Odessa Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty on May 23, 2019, after being struck by a vehicle during a foot chase with a suspect. Yelley has protected his community for four years.
  • Deputy William Christopher Dickerson, of the Panola County Sheriff’s Office, gave his life in the line of duty on Dec. 31, 2019, during a traffic stop. Dickerson protected his community for eight years. He was 28 years old.
  • Officer Paul Manning Beller, of the San Marcos Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty on March 23, 2020, after being struck by a vehicle while clearing a traffic hazard. Beller has protected his community for 19 years. The award was accepted on Beller's behalf by Manuel Espinosa.
  • Officer Justin Philip Mueller, of the San Marcos Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty on April 18, 2020, while responding to a domestic violence call. Mueller has protected his community for 12 years.
  • Officer Justin Read Putnam, of the San Marcos Police Department, gave his life in the line of duty on April 18, 2020, while responding to a domestic violence call. Putnam protected his community for five years. He was 31 years old.
  • Officer Franco Stewart, of the San Marcos Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty on April 18, 2020, while responding to a domestic violence call. Officer Stewart has protected his community for three years.
  • Officer William James McKeon, Jr., of the Sour Lake Police Department, was seriously injured in the line of duty on May 27, 2019, while responding to a disturbance call. McKeon has protected his community for four years.
  • Billy Ray Hollings, of the City of Southlake Public Works Department, gave his life while assisting the police department with traffic control when he was struck by a vehicle on July 23, 2020. He was 63 years old.
  • Trooper Juan Rojas Tovar, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, was seriously injured in the line of duty while conducting a search for an active shooter on April 8, 2021. Tovar has protected his community for four years.
  • Trooper Chad Walker, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, gave his life in the line of duty when he was ambushed while conducting a traffic stop on March 31, 2021. Walker protected his community for 18 years. He was 38 years old.
  • Paul Jude Dufour, of the USDA-Forest Service, gave his life in the line of duty on Dec. 20, 2019, after succumbing to his injuries from a grassland fire. Dufour protected his community for 35 years. He was 60 years old.
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