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Fallen Firefighter’s Son Receives Star Of Texas Award

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The ceremonies people most closely link with fallen heroes are somber and heart wrenching. Often, as was the case for William Tanksley, 40, a Dallas firefighter who took a deadly fall off of a bridge while working an accident scene, the ceremony is a funeral with full honors. During that service, Tanksley’s son received his father’s firefighter’s helmet.

But Wednesday, his son received the Star of Texas award from Governor Perry. This year marks the 11th anniversary of the legislation creating the Star of Texas Award, which was established to honor and commemorate the bravery and selflessness of Texas’ first responders.

The following North Texas first responders also received the honor:

♦Arlington Police Officer Charles Lodatto, shot in the leg while arresting a suspected child killer.

♦Dallas Police Officer Joshua Burns, wounded in a shootout during a domestic disturbance call.

♦Fort Worth officer Richard Lambing, severely injured when his police car crashed into a tree during a pursuit.

♦Denton County Deputy Josh Godi suffered brain injuries when a driver smashed into the back of his patrol car. Despite his injuries, Godi still managed to call for help and assist others on the scene. It would take him six months to remember what happened.

“I never thought I was going to die in this situation,” Lodatto told reporters in a press conference when he was released from the hospital as he talked about his faith in God and in the training he received as an Arlington officer. Injured first responders such as Officer Lodatto are often humble when receiving praise.

But the Star of Texas is also in recognition of the families and the sacrifices they make.

For Lodatto’s wife, her husband’s injury cost her peace of mind.

“I could say a prayer and turn over and go right back to sleep when he was called out at 3 a.m. because I had that peace that he’d be just fine,” his wife Chauntel said during that press conference. “I’m sure at some point I’ll get back to feeling that peace again.”

Here’s a complete list of this year’s award recipients:

EMERGENCY MEDICAL FIRST RESPONDERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY
Raymond Allison, Sterling County EMS

FIRE FIGHTERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY
William Tanksley, Dallas Fire-Rescue

PEACE OFFICERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY
Clay Crabb, Austin Police Department
Adam Davis, Bell County Sheriff’s Department
Jason Norling, Harris County Constable’s Office
Charles Dinwiddie, Killeen Police Department
Robert Hornsby, Killeen Police Department
Robert Deckard, San Antonio Police Department
Marc Kelley, Trinity University Police Department
Billy Kennedy, Upton County Sheriff’s Office

FIRE FIGHTERS SERIOUSLY INJURED IN THE LINE OF DUTY
Rafael Navarrette, El Paso Fire Department
Robert “Robby” Payne, West Fire Department
Barney “Joe” Yeakley, Lindale Fire Department

PEACE OFFICERS SERIOUSLY INJURED IN THE LINE OF DUTY
Charles Lodatto, Arlington Police Department
Candice Rodriguez, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office
James Kelemen, Conroe Police Department
Amador Gonzalez, Corpus Christi Police Department
Michael Goodman, Corpus Christi Police Department
Joshua Burns, Dallas Police Department
Josh Godi, Denton County Sherriff’s Office
Richard Lambing, Fort Worth Police Department
Bradley Durst, Fredericksburg Police Department
Juan Obregon, Killeen Police Department
Odis Denton, Killeen Police Department
John Spillman, McLennan County Sheriff’s Office
Ann Carrizales, Stafford Police Department
Leslie Claunch, Stafford Police Department
James Bennett, Temple Police Department
Allen Lanier, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
Roberto Charles, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
Larry Vaughan, Texas Department of Public Safety
Christian Vicuna, Texas Department of Public Safety

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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