The hustle and bustle of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ took a pause on Monday, March 5, as men and women in uniform filled a room in NRG Center for the third-annual First Responders Day, presented by BP, Welcome Ceremony.
The ceremony began with bagpipes and the honor guard marching in, followed by remarks from representatives of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and Texas Governor Greg Abbott about the first responders who lost their lives in service during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
“Hurricane Harvey revealed heroes of extraordinary character,” Governor Abbott said. “The men and women in our law enforcement agencies, fire departments and emergency services showed Texas-sized courage, repeatedly putting their lives at risk to save the lives of those in danger. Thousands of Texans and Houstonians are alive today because of what our incredible first responders did last year.”
The silence in the room was broken as bagpipes played “Amazing Grace” following the last call of 10 first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty in 2017.
This year was the third year that the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo recognized first responders, but it was the first year that individuals were recognized for their dedication, courage and willingness to serve. First responder of the year awards were presented to brave and selfless men and women who played a significant role in the rescue efforts after Hurricane Harvey.
“The worst in storms brought out the best in Houston, particularly our first responders,” said Joel Cowley, Rodeo president and CEO.
BP President John Mingé said in the wake of Harvey, “The first responders of Houston set the tone for our city, and set the tone for #HoustonStrong and #TexasStrong.”