JACKSBORO (KFDX/KJTL) — While most people know not all heroes wear capes, one Texoma nonprofit is going a step further to honor first responder heroes.
More than 30 officers injured in the line of duty attended the Emergency Operations Proving Grounds’ second annual “Not All Heroes Wear Capes” event.
Police officers make the choice to serve, no matter the cost.
“January 2015, I was shot in the line of duty in Pampa, Texas by a 12-gauge shotgun through a door,” Jacksboro Police Department Sgt. Houston Gass said.
“I opened the door up and a few seconds after I opened the door, I was shot in the face with a shotgun which cost me my eyesight,” former Fayette County Deputy CJ Lehmann said.
Gass and Lehmann were both shot in the face, injured while working to protect their communities.
Gass still puts the uniform on every day.
Lehmann chose to enter a room where a man barricaded himself inside because one of the other officers wasn’t wearing a vest.
Even though he lost his eyesight, Lehmann said he’d volunteer again.
“I protect my friends, family and the innocent people,” Lehmann said.
An unimaginable bond. They gather with even more wounded officers at the event.
“I’ve seen officers on the east coast and officers on the west coast meet for the first time here in Jacksboro and just speaking from last year’s event,” EOPG said. “They become best friends based off of this event, and when they go through their struggles and everything that comes along with that physically and mentally, they reach out to each other,” EOPG president Banning Sweatland said.
The event also works to bring awareness to the lack of resources for officers after they’re injured in the line of duty, offering a place for healing.
“The peace that I have, I wanna give that to these other guys to these other officers that are struggling to get through the day, wondering how they’re gonna make it,” Gass said.
The tragic circumstance of being injured while trying to do their jobs is the very thing bringing police officers from around the country together to heal.
The EOPG president said next year they’re extending the event to all first responders including firefighters, dispatchers, and EMS with plans for a 2-day event with 250 injured heroes.
Also, earlier this year The Wounded Blue organization released a movie featuring some of the injured officers who were in Jacksboro Saturday.
For more information, details are available here.