WACO, TX — On May 16, law enforcement agencies from across McLennan County came together to remember the fallen.
Waco Police Sgt. Sam Key read dozens of names aloud as loved ones dropped flowers at the Peace Officer Memorial at Indian Spring Park.
With each ring of the bell came the memory of a hero.
"They are not forgotten," said Key. "They are very much a part of our family."
Officers from the Waco Police Department, McLennan County Sheriff's Office, McLennan County Constable's Office, Mart Police Department, City of Lorena, Texas DPS and the ATF are forever engraved on the memorial.
The names are not familiar to Kathy Stanley, but it was important for her to be at the memorial service.
"How else can you ever repay these people except by showing up to this? What else can you do for them?" said Stanley. "I wish I could think of something else to do for them."
This annual event is open to the entire community. Some people who show up are just like Stanley and have no connection to the officers.
Others in attendance know the pain of this loss all too well.
"It helps them to remember all the good things that happened and to make sure that their name is remembered," said Key. "Hopefully forever."
While his uniform may be different, Sgt. Jeff Kyle of the American Valor Foundation understands what it means to make the ultimate sacrifice.
"I've lost a lot of brothers, some blood, some not," said Kyle. "To the family members of any officer that's fallen in the line of duty, I salute you. I appreciate you. I appreciate each and every one of you in uniform. No matter what part of the county you're from, I appreciate you."
Appreciation was felt in the hearts of many who attended the memorial service.
"I wish I was half as brave as these people are every day," said Stanley.
"It's exciting to see the support we have from the community," said Key. "I think it's important for these guys to come and show their support and we enjoy it."
To learn more about the American Valor Foundation, click here.