2nd annual 'Appreciation Sunday' honors area's first responders

The past year has been rough for the Alamo City and San Antonio's finest.

SAN ANTONIO - The past year has been rough for the Alamo City and San Antonio's finest.

We lost two police officers and one firefighter, all killed in the line of duty.

To show love, respect, and support for our local heroes, one church used the day to celebrate them.

"We have dedicated this Sunday to be a law enforcement appreciation Sunday," said Anna Rico, Event Coordinator at Beautiful Gate Baptist Church, or Iglesia Bautista Puerta La Hermosa.

For the second year in a row, parishioners of Beautiful Gate Baptist Church on the south side surrounded local law enforcement and first responders in prayer.

"These days, they're just getting crazier every day," said Rico. "We just wanted to have them come, pray for them so they can have that blessing so they would know the Lord is watching over them."

It was a celebration dedicated to those who choose to risk their lives to protect others.

Each first responder left with plenty of hugs, food, and a bible. A professional photographer was also set up to take pictures of first responders and their families.

"All law enforcement officers need that support from different communities, knowing that they're praying for us and they're able to help us out during the tough times where we are now," said Chief

Marco Pena of the Elmendorf Police Department.

"Many times people feel the need to apologize for the actions of others, for the way they see us treated in public sometimes. Many times people just want to come up and say, 'Look, I appreciate you',"

said Bexar County Sheriff, Javier Salazar. "It's a great feeling the way this congregation just envelopes us with open arms."

"If someone comes and just wants to shake your hand, when a small child comes and wants to give you a hug and say they wanna be a police officer or firefighter when they grow up, that's a great

feeling," said Deputy Joseph Canales of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.

Allison Uribe, Founder of Wives on Duty Ministries, shared her thanks to the church community for praying for our local heroes. She says nothing is more vital than the power of prayer.

"Even if my spouse is away patrolling the street or the firefighters are out there fighting fires, we know that we have a community that supports them, that's praying for them and just looks out for

them when we can't be there," said Allison Uribe, Founder of Wives on Duty Ministries.

Officers tell us this encouragement is much needed, especially during difficult times, and San Antonio never fails to deliver.

"It recharges the batteries, yes it does," said Canales.

His advice for any youth trying to pursue a career in law enforcement?

"Follow your dreams and keep going and don't stop," said Canales. "Just follow your dreams."

"[The kind words of encouragement] kept me going for 25 years, and God willing it will keep me going for another 25 years," said Salazar.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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