by State Representative Tan Parker
There have been many times in my life that I have missed loved one’s birthdays, spent holidays at the office, worked overtime, and lost sleep due to my role as a businessman and a legislator. Thankfully, these are just symptoms of seasonal sacrifice; seasons that I am sure all of us are familiar with. For our law enforcement officials, however, all of the above, is standard protocol. Furthermore, their vow to protect our state extends far beyond just missing out and losing sleep, tragically it sometimes demands their lives.
Although no award, ceremony, or tribute could ever equal the sacrifice that our police officers make on a daily basis, I know that these efforts are appreciated and certainly necessary. Throughout the year I receive numerous notifications regarding the performance of the law enforcement professionals of House District 63 and awards that our departments and individual officers are nominated to win.
One of the most prestigious of these awards is the Texas Star Award. To be eligible to receive this honor, one must be a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency first responder that is either seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. On September 11th of this year, Flower Mound Police Officer Christopher Todd Coots received the Texas Star Award from Governor Greg Abbott for his role in apprehending an individual suspected for theft, in which he sustained a potentially life threatening stab wound. Thankfully, Officer Coots returned to the force a mere three weeks after the incident despite the extent of his injury.
As is evident by Officer Coots and also Fort Worth Police Officer Garret Hull, fatally wounded by an individual suspected of robbery earlier this month, our officers place their lives on the line every day, and far too often pay the ultimate price. It grieves me to know that there is cause for such, but I would like to make you aware of an event that I am proud to support, the Highland Village Police Department TXFallenPD Tribute.
The TXFallenPD Tribute is an annual bike race that first began in 2008 when police officers united to honor fallen Texas officers. Since 2008, this event has grown from a symbolic tradition into a community fundraising event that includes a 5K, a civilian bike race, and a police obstacle course race. However, no matter how much this event grows, the focus will forever remain the same. The proceeds from the event go to the Texas Police Chiefs Association Foundation, which through their Officer Death Benefit Program fund supports the families of Texas law enforcement officers that have died in the line of duty.
Over the course of 10 years, more than $150,000 has been raised for the Fallen Officer Fund and this year’s goal is to raise $30,000. To learn more about this event and the day’s activities, please visit http://txfallenpd.com/777/TXFallenPD-Tribute-Event. I hope that you will join us on October 20th to honor those that we have lost and let our officers know this community stands with them.
It is for the benefit of both the individuals that have vowed to protect us and those who seek that protection that another event I am proud to support, National Night Out, was created. This national event celebrated each year was founded on the principle that together, citizens and law enforcement, can unite to fight crime by strengthening community relationships through positive and community-centered gatherings such as block parties, BBQs, seminars, and demonstrations.
On Tuesday, October 2nd from 6:30 – 9 p.m., neighborhoods all across Texas will celebrate old relationships while making new ones. It is truly an occasion that I look forward to every year in House District 63 as it brings me great joy seeing our communities come together. What an incredible testament to how strong we are when united in the spirit of helping one another as neighbors and friends. For more information regarding how your community plans to celebrate National Night Out, please visit crosstimbersgazette.com/2017/09/01/registration-now-open-for-national-night-out.
I sincerely hope that you will join us for the TXFallenPD Tribute and for National Night Out as we gather to honor, support, and build stronger community relationships with our law enforcement officials. Let us also remember that our law enforcement officers need our support not only on select nights in October, but every single day. May we never take for granted the valiant individuals that comprise the thin blue line that stands to serve and protect the citizens of Texas. So when you see a first responder, be sure to stop and say thank you!
As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives, and I welcome your feedback. If you would like to share a thought, please feel free to contact my Capitol office at 512.463.0688 or email [email protected].