|Updated: 5/08/2013 5:56 pm
||Published: 5/08/2013 5:42 pm
The families of nearly 20 Tulsa first-responders who died in the line of duty last year were among those at Chandler Park this morning for a special ceremony.
As a gentle breeze caught each fold of the stars and stripes the crowd stood in respect.
“It's to honor the men and women of law enforcement who have passed away in the line of duty, and we also we honor our employees from the sheriff's office who passed away," says Sgt. Randy Chapman with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.
Nancy Thornton's father, Gary James, served as a deputy for decades.
She said he loved to serve and had a special place in his heart for children.
“He always handed out bubble gum because he wanted the kids to know that a police officer was somebody they could come to and trust."
She said she will never forget her father or his service to Tulsa and she's thankful the city isn't either.
“For them to honor my dad, it's pretty special."
As each name of the fallen was read, a flag was placed in the ground at this memorial site.
The lives of the family of Deputy Laura Nieves forever changed on June 1st, 2012 when she suffered a tragic accident.
Deputy Nieves, a wife and mother, was only 35 years old.
“Even though she's not with us physically she is still with us mentally, emotionally and in our hearts,"
The family told FOX23 she was spunky, outgoing and even a little mischievous.
“She always liked playing pranks on people and she always had a smile on her face."
National Police Week begins Sunday when communities nationwide will pay special recognition to law enforcement officers, who've died in the line of duty.