Governor Abbott Honors First Responders At 2023 Star Of Texas Awards

September 11, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today honored peace officers, firefighters, and first responders who demonstrated profound heroism and sacrifice while performing their duties to their communities and the State of Texas at the 2023 Star Of Texas Awards in Austin.

“Today, we mark another anniversary of September 11, 2001—a day that no American will ever forget,” said Governor Abbott. “We will also never forget the brave men and women who ran toward danger to help those in need. We are forever humbled by the valor of the emergency first responders that day. We are also grateful to the first responders who bravely serve Texans across our state. To serve as a first responder is to answer a higher calling. It means putting yourself between danger and the people you serve. It requires exceptional courage, dedication, and a commitment to protect those in need. Our first responders represent the very best of us. I thank all law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency first responders here today and across Texas.”

Governor Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott were joined at the Star Of Texas Awards by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Texas Supreme Court Justices Jimmy Blacklock and Brett Busby, as well as elected officials, first responders, and their families.

Today’s ceremony honored and recognized 21 Texans for their remarkable courage and tremendous sacrifice in the line of duty, including some who gave their lives.

The 2023 recipients of the Star Of Texas Awards are:

  • Anthony Alvarez, Houston Police Department Officer
  • Michael Baley, Royse City Police Department Officer
  • Brandon M. Barragan, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Senior Deputy
  • Steven Alton Carnes, Tom Green County District Attorney's Office Criminal Investigator
  • Corey Cooke, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Deputy
  • Brandon Cordell, Corpus Christi Police Department Senior Officer
  • Nathan Gadson, Houston Police Department Officer
  • Michele Garcia, Dallas Police Department Officer
  • John C. Hamm, Galveston County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant
  • Daniel Hayden, Houston Police Department Officer
  • Scott Jay, Dallas Police Department Senior Corporal
  • Senior Corporal Jay's K-9 partner, Figor
  • Stephen George Jones, Concho County Sheriff's Office Sergeant
  • Gustavo Medina, Corpus Christi Police Department Officer
  • Nicholas Alexander Montelongo, Dimmitt Police Department Officer
  • Ruben Munoz, Sugar Land Police Department Officer
  • Curtis B. Putz, Department of Public Safety Trooper
  • Lorin Readmond, Loving County Sheriff's Office Deputy
  • Caleb Daniel Rule, Fort Bend Constable's Office
  • Thomas Wolf, Parker County Sheriff’s Office Corporal
  • Matthew B. Zalewski, Seagraves Police Department Officer

Established in 2003 under House Bill 1937, the Star of Texas Awards honors and commemorates individuals who made profound commitments while performing their duties as peace officers, firefighters, and emergency medical first responders. HB 1937 also designated September 11th of every year as Texas First Responders Day.