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Five ECSO honorees headed to Austin for Star of Texas Awards


THE ECTOR COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE WERE CHOSEN…. TO RECEIVE… THIS YEAR’S— STAR OF TEXAS AWARDS… THE… STATE-WIDE EVENT– HONORS THOSE INJURED OR KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY… AS WELL AS THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS — WHO SUPPORT THESE COMMUNITY HEROES. FOX 24’S JUYEON KIM HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK TO ALL FIVE OF THE RECEIPIENTS TODAY. SHE JOINS US NOW LIVE — WITH THEIR STORIES. JUYEON ESPECIALLY IN THE WAKE OF LAST WEEKEND’S TRAGEDY… THE DAYS FOLLOWING THE RAMPAGE HAS BEEN ALL ABOUT REMEMBERING AND HONORING THE VICTIMS… AS WELL AS THE FIRST-RESPONDERS OF OUR COMMUNITY. WHILE THE LIST OF OUR HEROES IS FAR TOO LONG… FIVE OF THEM WILL BE RECEIVING THEIR WELL-DESERVED SPOTLIGHT THIS WEDNESDAY… IN AUSTIN. “IT’S JUST AN HONOR, YOU KNOW, TO BE STILL STANDING HERE TODAY RECEIVING THIS.” A UNIFORM, A BADGE, AND A CAREER-LONG COMMITMENT… RESPONSIBILITY… THIS YEAR’S STAR OF TEXAS HONOREES — UNDERSTAND ALL TOO WELL. “THIS IS A CALLING. THIS ISN’T SOMETHING MOST ANYBODY GOES INTO…” “I KNOW EVERYBODY FEELS THE SAME WAY. YOU KNOW, WE DON’T LOOK FOR STUFF LIKE THIS, YOU KNOW, WE’RE NOT ASKING FOR IT…” “I KNOW MY CONSEQUENCES. IF I GET IN A GUN FIGHT, I’M EITHER GOING TO LIVE THROUGH IT, I’M GOING TO GET INJURED, OR I’M GOING TO DIE. BUT I’M GOOD WITH IT.” STEVEN MCNEILL, JAVIER LEYVA, CODY SMITH, JOSH POOL, AND RICKY RODRIGUEZ… OF THE ECTOR COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE… IS FIVE OF THIS YEAR’S STAR OF TEXAS HONOREES. THE CEREMONY HOSTED —EACH SEPTEMBER— BY THE STATE’S PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICE… AWARDS THOSE INJURED OR KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY… “I HAD TO CALL TO MAKE SURE IT WAS TRUE. I THOUGHT MAYBE IT WAS JUST THE SPAM EMAIL OR SOMETHING.” “I THOUGHT IT WAS AN HONOR. THERE’S VERY FEW, MAYBE A COUPLE HUNDRED PEOPLE THAT GET THIS AWARD.” “RIGHT NOW, I FEEL WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS HIGH HONOR.” “AT TIMES YOU KNOW, YOU JUST KIND OF REMEMBER OUT OF NOWHERE. SO FOR IT TO STILL BE KIND OF BE AROUND AND FOR US TO BE RECOGNIZED FOR IT EVEN SO LONG AFTER, IT JUST FEELS GOOD TO KNOW THAT OUR SACRIFICE IS WORTH IT TO SOME.” “THAT’S VERY REASSURING TO LET US KNOW THAT WE’RE ON THE RIGHT COURSE.” MCNEILL WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD IN 2010… WHILE RESPONDING TO A SHOOTING IN WEST ODESSA. LEYVA WAS SHOT TWO TIMES BACK IN AUGUST OF 2014… WHILE CHASING DOWN A PREVIOUS GUNMAN. SMITH, POOL, AND RODRIGUEZ WERE SHOT BACK IN JANUARY OF THIS YEAR… SERVING A SEARCH WARRANT. “AT THAT TIME, THE ONLY THING I COULD REALLY THINK OF IS I GOT TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE ELSE HERE IS SAFE, AND WE ALL GO HOME TO OUR FAMILIES.” “THERE ARE STILL SOME SIDE EFFECTS THAT LINGER TODAY BUT I’M VERY GLAD TO BE ALIVE.” “STUFF LIKE THIS HAPPENS YOU KNOW. YOU KNOW IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN, SO YOU HAVE TO PREPARE YOURSELF MENTALLY AND SPIRITUALLY AS WELL.” “FOR ME IT’S A REALLY SELFLESS JOB. IT’S SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE TO LOVE TO DO.” WHILE THE OFFICERS CARRY THEIR SCARS ALONGSIDE THEIR NOBILITY… ON A DAILY BASIS… ALL SAY IT’S A BLESSING TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY OF WEST TEXAS. “THE PEOPLE OUT HERE ARE REALLY STRONG. IT’S A STRONG COMMUNITY.” JUYEON THE OFFCIERS ARE HEADED TO AUSTIN… BRIGHT AND EARLY TOMORROW MORNING. LIVE IN PCR, IM JUYEON KIM, FOX 24 NEWS. MONICA MIDLAND—- COMMISSIONERS… COURT…. HELD A PUBLIC MEETING TODAY,– TO DISCUSS… PAY,– FOR COUNTY EMPLOYEES…

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