The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security held the Three Stars of Tennessee awards and first responder recognition ceremony last week.

The Three Stars of Tennessee awards honor public servants who sacrificed their lives or suffered a career-ending injury in the line of duty. Gov. Bill Lee, First Lady Maria Lee, Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long, state Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville, and Greg Mays, director of the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security, joined recipients, their family members and agency representatives to honor five recipients with Three Stars of Tennessee awards.

Officer Randy Cox with Clarksville police and Firefighter Nick Greene with Clarksville Fire and Rescue were first responder recognition recipients.

“This event is very important to us,” Long said. “We owe a great amount thanks to the men and women first responders who sacrifice their life or their health for the safety of their fellow citizens.  Our hearts go out to the families who had loved ones make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. We are proud to honor them with this award.”

During the ceremony, 16 first responders were recognized with first responder awards for their heroic actions. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards were not presented in person as they were in the past. Certificates will be sent to their respected agency, which will then honor the first responder in a smaller setting.

The ceremony was a longstanding tradition in memory of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Massey spearheaded legislation to recognize law enforcement, firefighters and medical first responders who were either killed or suffered a career-ending injury in the line of duty. The law to allow for the Three Stars of Tennessee awards passed during the 2014 legislative session.

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