Tears were flowing Thursday as Alice Police Cpl. Daniel X. Elizondo received the city's first Medal of Valor for his heroism during a bank robbery in April.
"As he proceeded to the scene and gave chase, he did everything he was trained to do," Police Chief Danny Bueno said during an awards ceremony Thursday. "I'm very proud of the organization we have in place."
Along with the Medal of Valor, Elizondo also received a Purple Heart medal during the awards and recognition ceremony Thursday at City Hall. Elizondo, a graduate of Robstown High School, was shot in his thigh during the crossfire with one of the bank robbers, both of whom were from San Diego. Juan Villarreal was killed and the other robber, John Eric Garcia, has been convicted of the robbery and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Sgt. Tony Aguilar and Sgt. J.R. Resendez were recognized with plaques for their bravery during the bank robbery chase and received Dedicated Service Medals.
Thirty-two police officers' names were read off and appreciated with a commendation plaque.
During the ceremony, Elizondo's daughter, Lizzie Elizondo, sang the National Anthem and council members Dorella Elizondo, Shane Valverde and Mayor Juan Rodriguez Jr. presented the awards. One after the other, each officer was highlighted for their efforts and heroism in front of a crowd of about 75 attendees.
About 24 law enforcement and first responder entities and non-civilians were recognized for their assistance during the April 10 bank robbery at Wells Fargo Bank on East Main Street.
Some of those acknowledged were the Alice Police officers, Jim Wells County sheriff's deputies, Duval County sheriff's office, Kingsville Police Department, Kingsville Narcotics Task Force, dispatchers and police administrators, Alice Fire Department, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice and Memorial, Guardian Emergency Medical Service and HALO-Flight, Corpus Christi Police Department, Premont Police Department, Orange Grove Police Department, Robstown Police Department, Border Patrol Division from Freer and Falfurrias, Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Rangers, and Alice resident Gloria Pena, who called 9-1-1 as the robbery was in progress, and others.
More than 200 officers and first responders who answered the call that day were featured at the awards ceremony.
"The brotherhood of law enforcement…we don't see very often, but our love and families stick together," Bueno said. "Alice, Texas, is truly a community of heroes."