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Photo Contest

Focus on Texas: First Responders

Those who jump into action when trouble arises often shun attention, but these photos capture their valor

They have specialized training and are among the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency. To all our firefighters, law enforcement, medical personnel and lineworkers who risk their own lives to serve others, we salute you.

Debra Chandler, Lighthouse EC: Plainview firefighters search through rubble after a downtown building fire.

Jack Gouge, Trinity Valley EC: Trinity Valley EC lineworkers make repairs after a large oak tree toppled onto power lines and a garage in Eustace. “They were our heroes on a hot Texas July night.”

Kelly Koenig, Pedernales EC: A Killeen Fire Department training exercise.

Michael Cates, Grayson-Collin EC: “My son and grandson—proud members of the Plano Fire Department.”

Kristen Hembree, Rita Blanca EC: Brendan Torres was taken way too soon. He followed in the footsteps of his older brother to become a member of the Dalhart Volunteer Fire Department. He and his fire chief, Curtis Brown, died in October when a tractor-trailer hit their SUV as they were returning to the station from a call. Brendan loved to make people laugh and will be dearly missed.

Susan Knapp Gibbons, United Cooperative Services: These planes were scooping up water from Lake Whitney and carrying it to the Hard Castle fire. They worked as a team of three and would skim the lake and lift back up and head off toward the fire, returning about every 12 minutes to repeat the process. This lasted all day, as they navigated around not only trees but also boaters.

Tim Lapham, San Bernard EC: Austin County first responders work a two-vehicle collision that required two victims to be extricated and flown to medical care.

Alice Robinett, United Cooperative Services: Clint Robinett, a firefighter for Johnson County Emergency Services, covered in ice while battling a winter blaze, gets a cup of coffee.

Stephen Schwarz, Bandera EC: At the Sisterdale Volunteer Fire Department, protective gear is ready and waiting for the volunteers signaled by pagers to respond to house fires, brush fires or medical emergencies.

Manuel Chavez, MidSouth EC: This firefighter used up all his air and collapsed to his knees while working to put out flames destroying a two-story house. Frustration sets in after learning he’ll not be allowed a replacement air tank so he can go back in.

Lauren Throne, United Cooperative Services: “That was a hot one!”