AUSTIN, Texas – Eighteen peace officers from across the state were honored Monday morning for laying down their lives to protect their communities.
The morning began with a march that started down Congress Avenue and wound up at the Capitol. For organizers, this event is close to their hearts.
"It's immeasurable. There really are no words to describe when I come here and do this for other families," said Danielle Story-Stinson with the Texas Peace Officers Memorial Committee.
Stinson lost her husband, Arlington police officer Craig Story, in 2010 while he was in pursuit of a speeding car. Following years of working through that pain, she now provides support to families and pays tribute to fallen heroes in the name of her late husband.
"He's not here, but he's always with me. He knows exactly what I do every day, and I do this to honor him," she said.
The Peace Officer Memorial event began in 1987 and features color and honor guard from across the state as well as mounted patrol and motorcycle officers. Each of the 18 names were called out and greeted with tears, but also support from fellow brothers in blue.
"We love you. God bless you and God bless Texas' finest," said Todd Harrison with the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas (CLEAT).
Families received a medal of honor from Gov. Greg Abbott, who hugged and them for their sacrifice.
"We must as a community stand in solidarity with them and we must focus on restoring the respect for law enforcement, not just in Texas, but throughout our entire nation," Abbott said to the crowd.
Monday marked the end to a solemn weekend of remembrance of the fallen. Saturday, bikers participated in the Ride for the Fallen. Sunday evening, a candlelight vigil was held at the Peace Officer's Memorial Wall.
It's Stinson's hope that this feeling of solidarity continues as the families begin to heal.
"So that they can see it's not the end. I'm going to be OK," Stinson said.