Seven deputies received certificates and a resolution honoring their bravery and heroism. Sheriff J.E. "Eddie" Guerra, who had previously awarded Life-Saving and Meritorious medals to the deputies, said they had the training and tools that allowed them to do their jobs.
Life-Saving Medals were awarded to Deputy Enrique Amaya for saving a gunshot victim, Deputy Oscar Elizondo for saving a teenage girl who had been in an All-Terrain Vehicle rollover, and Deputy Jayson Rivera, for saving a man who was bleeding from an arterial wound.
"They applied their training and saved individuals. We've got statements from E.R. doctors noting that if these deputies hadn't taken action, the victims would not have survived," said Guerra.
The other four deputies had all responded to a structural fire that ultimately claimed the life of one child and injured two others in rural Mission. Sgt. Jonathan Moody was first to arrive to the scene and administered first aid and triage to victims; Deputy Jose Torres helped search for victims and assisted fire personnel; Deputy Joseph Trevino administered first aid to an unconscious boy who had suffered severe burns and also assisted firefighters battling the blaze; and Deputy Ricky Martinez helped suppress the fire and provided first aid.
County Judge Richard F. Cortez, who sponsored the resolution, said "It's my pleasure to have a resolution to honor excellence in the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office," adding that Hidalgo County strives to recognize excellence among its workforce as well as in the community.
"Every man and woman who wears a badge knows the burdens that come with it. The long hours and stress, the knowledge that any moment could turn into a matter of life or death, and the responsibility to set an example to our citizens," Cortez said. "You carry these burdens so the rest of us don't have to."
Speaking for his peers, Deputy Oscar Elizondo thanked the Sheriff for providing the training and tools necessary to be able to assist victims.
"First and foremost I want to thank Commissioners Court for recognizing us. This is something that I don't think any of us had ever gone through," said Elizondo, a 15-year veteran with the S.O. "In my incident, I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. God put there for a reason and I was able to apply my training.
According to Guerra, the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office Training Academy is the only one that is certified to teach Emergency Medical Technicians and tactical medics.
Sgt. Jonathan Moody and Deputy Jayson Rivera were not able to attend today's Commissioners Court.