“Thank you for being the examples that you are,” Harris told those being recognized.
Harris, captain of the vice division, was the featured speaker at the luncheon, replacing HPD Chief Art Acevedo who was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict.
The awards are presented to individuals selected by their departments. Those honored were: Firefighter Rigoberto Contreras, Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department; Senior Police Officer Charles Sadowski, HPD; Deputy Bill Bredemeyer, Harris County Pct. 4 Constable’s Office; Sgt. Steven Theis, Harris County Sheriff’s Office; Officer Andrew Kight, Humble Police Department; Officer Terry J. Castle, Lone Star College-Kingwood Police Department; and Sgt. Eric McHugh, Montgomery County Pct. 4 Constable’s Office.
The City of Humble Fire Department and Humble Independent School District Police Department both chose to have their entire department receive recognition.
“Firefighters put their lives in danger to save others. Police officers use keen insight and technology to find the bad guy,” Harris said.
“Often, we idealize our heroes,” he added as photos of action heroes flashed behind him. “That’s not always the reality.”
“As a new officer,” Harris recalled, “I remember answering an accident call. A woman was trapped in her car. The firefighters already were there. I asked if there was something I could do. They told me to direct traffic and keep people away from the scene. I blocked traffic as I watched them rip open the car, safely pull out the woman, and get her into an ambulance. It was amazing to see how well coordinated they were. I remember that and appreciate what they did to this day.”
Harris then recited the Fireman’s Prayer, “… When I am called to duty, God, whenever flames may rage, give me the strength to save some life whatever be its age …”
He followed that with the late news commentator Paul Harvey’s famous interpretation of what police officers are made of, “… the officer must be a minister, a social worker, a diplomat, tough and gentle.”
“Each of you today is a hero,” Harris told the officers and firefighters, “and the rest of us need to challenge ourselves to be just like you. If we are, then we are heroes as well.”
As the luncheon ended, Chamber Chair Jerry Martin, who also is pastor of Light of the World Christian Fellowship Church in Humble, asked the police officers and firefighters to stand, then gave them a special blessing: “We thank God for your service, putting your lives on the line for us. Please see, dear God, that they all return safely every day to their families.”
“We need heroes,” Capt. Harris said after the awards presentation.
The next chamber luncheon is April 18 at the Clubs of Kingwood, when members will receive an update on the state of public and higher education and what it means for Lake Houston’s economy. Attendees also will learn about current legislation and the impact on our schools. For more information or to register, call 281-446-2128 or visit lakehouston.org.