Star of Courage | Houston Texans -

Star of Courage. First Responder Award. Presented by Apache

The Houston Texans and Apache are proud to partner to honor a local first responder with the Star of Courage award. In 2013, the Star of Courage award was created to recognize a first responder who has demonstrated excellence in leadership, bravery, and a commitment to Houston.

Nominations are now open! One winner will be selected to receive the Star of Courage award at a Texans game and a $10,000 donation in their name to the 100 Club of Houston, which supports the dependents of heroes lost in the line of duty. Monthly winners will also be selected and receive an award from the Texans and Apache and a tree planted in their honor.

Honoring Star of Courage Recipients in 'The Grove'

The Houston Texans and Apache are partnering with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership to start 'The Grove' where a tree will be planted for each Star of Courage recipient. The Star of Courage award recognizes first responders who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, bravery, and a commitment to Houston. We invite each of the honorees and their families, as well as all of the Houston community, to visit Buffalo Bayou Park and the Houston Police Officers Memorial to enjoy these beautiful trees.

Countdown to Kickoff | Star of Courage Award Winner

The Houston Texans and Apache Corporation have teamed together to donate $10,000 in honor of Ronald Walker, engine operator for the Houston Fire Department, as part of the Star of Courage award!

2020-2021 Star of Courage Monthly Winners


April 2021: Pat McDonald, Chief, Beach City Volunteer Fire Department & Trinity Bay EMS

Chief Pat McDonald has served the Baytown/Beach City area for more than twenty years. After starting out with the Beach City Volunteer Ambulance Service, he served with the Trinity Bay EMS and became a volunteer firefighter. McDonald currently serves as Chief of the Beach City Volunteer Fire Department. He serves in this role while working full time and also finds time to volunteer in other capacities in the community. Chief McDonald is always willing to help, giving up family time to serve his neighbors for 20+ years, most recently battling a house fire in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday. For serving your community and for all you do, you are a Star of Courage.


March 2020: Larry Hill, Executive Director/Founder Medic Outpost (501c3), Retired EMS 42 years / Licensed Paramedic 22 years

After a long career as a paramedic, Larry Hill founded a nonprofit called Medic Outpost. Medic Outpost supplies basic life support equipment and gently-used medical equipment to rural communities in Africa, Central America and Mexico, as well as teaching first responder training to rural clinics and responder teams in those communities. With COVID-19, Medic Outpost's focus shifted to battle COVID in Texas by building and supplying intubation boxes, PPE and other equipment to hospitals in west Texas and along the border. Said Larry "I believe that everyone is entitled to healthcare and first responders are the first link in the chain. Nothing is more gratifying than knowing you are making a difference in a very difficult situation."


February 2021 Winner: Deputy Wesley Ebbers, Patrol Deputy, Waller County Sheriff's Office, Fire Chief of Rolling Hills Volunteer Fire Department, and combat logistics with the US Army (retired)

Ebbers has served his country and his community in more ways than one. According to his wife, Kelly, he is the, "trifecta." Ebbers served in the U.S. Army in combat logistics and was deployed for two tours of duty overseas. After being discharged from the Army, he wanted to find a way to continue serving the community so he joined a small local volunteer fire department. After serving in that role for several years, he went to the police academy and became a deputy with the Waller County Sheriff's Department to serve and protect the community he called home. Said his wife Kelly, "He is such a hard worker and still makes time for me and our 4 children. Our kids look up to him and he is the type of role model I would want for them."


January 2021 Winner: Marc Garcia, Firefighter and Chaplain, Andrews Volunteer Fire Department

Lieutenant Garcia has been a firefighter for 5 years. He says, "I decided to become a firefighter because I love helping and aiding my community in every way possible. We get called to help strangers and people we have never met before and my heart has always been set on helping and being a good person no matter the age, race, or gender. It is also so much fun to be able to drive and pump trucks and fight fire. You learn different challenges every call because no call is ever the same and I love challenges, I love facing adversity, and overcoming obstacles. My heart has always been set on helping people, what greater way to do it than to be a first responder."


December 2020 Winner: Houston Police Officer Muhammad Sheik

Officer Sheik has been an officer for 7 years and serves as a new officer trainer paving the way for new officers to be ready to serve and protect the people of Houston. He has earned several commendations for extraordinary performance and for going above and beyond to serve the citizens of Houston. The Houston Texans and Apache would like to congratulate him for being our December Star of Courage award winner.


November 2020 Winner: Pasadena ISD School Police Officer Kevin Zinter

Pasadena ISD School Police Officer Kevin Zinter has been a Houston-area police officer for 10 years and loves giving back to the community. After seeing a spike in calls for veterans with PTSD, he became a mental health officer to assist with providing services to our service members experiencing trauma. He's frequently volunteering his time to local charities, including twice running the Project Blue half-marathon in full police uniform to raise money for officers killed and injured in the line of duty. He's a true life-saver and has put out a car fire involving an entrapped driver as well as given life-saving CPR to a child who fell into a pool. Recently, after a long heart-to-heart, he transferred to a school police department so he can provide positive interactions with students. Despite the crazy work schedule and stressful situations he faces, he is also a dedicated family man.


October 2020 Winner: Jaime Larrea, EMS/EMT and Texas Army National Guard 68W Army Medic

Larrea has been an EMS for approximately 6 years throughout the Houston-area. Recently, Larrea enlisted into the Texas Army National Guard as a 68W (Army Medic). After returning home from basic training and medic training, Larrea began training to become a paramedic, working in the ER in Conroe. Larrea is now working full time as an Army Medic and is deploying overseas with the Army in October 2020. His inspiration has always been his love for helping people and his inspiration for joining the Army was his love for the United States. He says, "What an incredible place to live and be free. I wanted to join because of all of those who have served, fought, and died for my freedom. I couldn't have done any of this without the support of my loving wife who has always been my rock and supporter in everything I've strived for and my parents who have sacrificed everything to give me the best opportunities in life to succeed. My family is what drives me! I want to thank all the people who have taught me and trained me – military and civilian."

2019-2020 Star of Courage Monthly Winners


2020 Annual Winner: Ronald Walker, Houston Fire Department

Houston Fire Fighter Ronald Walker, a 17-year veteran, was honored with the 2020 Houston Texans Star of Courage Award presented by Apache in a ceremony at his Station 48. Engineer Operator Walker was nominated by his family for epitomizing the quote "Hard times don't create heroes, It is during the hard times the hero within us is revealed." Firefighters are always the first ones called into any incident that involves human illness or physical injury. Every time the alarm sounds they must respond. They are not only firefighters but they are also Emergency Medical Technicians. During this Covid-19 pandemic whenever 911 is called HFD responds and puts themselves in direct danger with possible patients prior to their admittance to any hospital. They don't just risk their lives running toward fires but also running to prevent the spread of our current silent enemy, COVID-19. Ronald Walker does this without hesitation during his 24 hour shifts because not only is it his job, but his true calling. He is our calm gentle giant who happens to be our personal hero. So for this reason, I nominate him to receive the Star of Courage Award.


August 2020 Winner: Raven Hernandez, AMET Bailey County

August's Houston Texans Star of Courage Award presented by Apache will be presented to AEMT Raven Hernandez. Hernandez is a single mother who decided to return to school to become a first responder. She works in a small town, and is setting a great example that hard work and determination can get the job done. Currently she is serving in her community as a COVID-19 tracer, helping manage all the current cases in her county and is doing an amazing job.


July 2020 Winner: Firefighter and EMT Joshua Templeton

July's Houston Texans Star of Courage Award presented by Apache will be presented to Conroe Fire Department Firefighter and EMT Joshua Templeton. For the past 7 years Templeton has gone above and beyond to serve the Houston Community. During Hurricane Harvey he went door by door on a boat for three days straight helping and rescuing those in need and he has continued to dedicate his life to serving the Houston community and ensuring everyone's safety during this challenging time. The Houston Texans and Apache would congratulate him for being our July Star of Courage award.


June 2020 Winner: Lieutenant Bridget Lummus

June's Star of Courage Award presented by Apache will be presented to Lieutenant Bridget Lummus. Lummus has served her community for the past 23 years. She goes above and beyond to make sure those in her community are safe and taken care of. Recently, she went out of her way to help a mother and her two children escape a domestic abuse situation as well as take care of their hotel bill when shelters were full. The Houston Texans and Apache would like to thank and congratulate Lieutenant Lummus for being this month's Star of Courage winner.


May 2020 Winner: Officer Jason Knox, Houston Police Department, Tactical Flight Officer and Officer Chase Cormier, Houston Senior Police Officer and Pilot

May's Star of Courage Award presented by Apache will be presented to late Houston Police Department Tactical Flight Officer Jason Knox and Houston Senior Police Officer and Pilot Chase Cormier. In early May, Officer Knox and Officer Cormier were in a tragic helicopter accident that Officer Knox did not survive and that left Officer Cormier badly injured. Officer Knox served for a combined 15 years and Officer Cormier has served for the past 21 years. Both men dedicated their lives to ensuring the safety of all Houstonians. The Houston Texans and Apache would like to honor Officer Knox posthumously and Officer Cormier with our May Star of Courage award and are sending our thoughts and prayers.


April 2020 Winner: Shane, Houston Fire Department

Shane has served with the Houston Fire Department as a Firefighter for the past two years. Throughout the past two years, he has been on the front lines working hard to save lives and serve the city of Houston. During this challenging time he has gone above and beyond by working overtime as an essential worker taking time away from his own young kids to help our community. Shane's courage to serve this community selflessly has set a great example for all.


March 2020 Winner: Glen Mayo, Cypress Fairbanks ISD Police Department

Glen Mayo has served with the Houston Police Department for 27 years and during his time has won numbers life-saving awards. During Hurricane Harvey, he spent weeks rescuing people with the HPD Dive Team, without taking a second to think about himself. Most recently he won a life-saving award for helping save a child from chocking at a restaurant in Cypress. Currently, he works as a K9- Officer for Cy Fair ISD with his K-9 Astra. He has truly dedicated his life to serving Houston and ensuring everyone's safety.


February 2020 Winner: Jay Rosenbalm, Woodlands Fire Department

Jay Rosenbalm has been in public service for most of his life. He is a two-time Iraq war veteran and spent over 12 years in the military. During his second deployment to Iraq, he became an EMT so he could continue to serve others as a firefighter/EMT after leaving the military. He is currently a firefighter/EMT for the Woodlands Fire Department. During his eight years at the WFD he has saved countless lives and has even brought back a handful of people back to life by performing CPR. He is a true beacon of courage and serves his country and community selflessly, whether it's running into a burning building or responding to other crises situations with the sole purpose of ensuring everyone's safety and wellbeing.


January 2020 Winner: Heather Shedd, Baytown Police Department

Cpl. Heather Shedd is a twenty-one year veteran of the Baytown Police Department. She works alongside her K9 Bloodhound Gypsy. After losing her husband, George Drude, who was also a 20 year veteran of the Baytown Police Department, she continued to serve. Despite her hardships, she has given our community more than she will ever know.

December SOC Winner Website

December 2019 Winner: David Elias Sr., Houston Fire Department

David Elias Sr. has served 18 years with the Houston Fire Department and 5 years with Texas Children's Hospital Kangaroo Crew. He always thinks of others before himself and does not hesitate to risk his life & health every day when he works at HFD and would donate anything he could to save the sick children he transports. He's does more than asked for and serves his community unselfishly. Serving and saving the lives of the people and children in the City of Houston is his daily reward.

November SOC Winner Website

November 2019 Winner: Demetrius Woodard, Houston Police Department

Officer Demetrius Woodard has always displayed a kind, respectful, and upbeat attitude. He is an exemplary employee and is adaptable in any given situation. In addition, he has a great rapport amongst his peers, superiors and equally with citizens that he comes in contact. He takes pride in his career and strives to be better on a daily in every aspect. Demetrius has offered food and water to homeless people numerous of times in downtown Houston and has helped many women and men off the streets and into shelters. Lastly, Officer Woodard is a positive influencer that is passionate about his career. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community or anyone in danger.


October 2019 Winner: Deputy Craig Darlow, Harris County Sheriff's Office

On January 22, 2018, Harris County Sheriff's Office Deputy Craig Darlow responded to a major accident involving two vehicles. Both were smoking as motor fluids were leaked onto the ground. Deputy Darlow saw an infant was upside down in her car seat with glass and blood covering her head. Darlow crawled into the vehicle, freeing her and another passenger from the vehicle. Darlow remained on site at the vehicle attending to other victims without regard for his own safety until the fire department arrived. Deputy Darlow exhibited great dedication to duty without personal regard for his own safety and saved the lives of two people.


2019 Winner: Police Officer Jasmine Selle, Houston Police Department

Officer Selle with the Westside Division Night Shift, spotted a suspect during her shift who had earlier avoided arrest. Just as she exited her vehicle he exited his with a revolver firing at her multiple times. Officer Selle was struck in the arm in the firefight. While injured, Officer Selle stood her ground, courageously staying in the battle, firing back at the suspect along with other responding officers hitting the suspect multiple times and protecting herself and other officers at the scene. Officer Selle was then transported to the hospital by fellow officers and upon arriving at the hospital, walked into the emergency room under her own power to be treated.