Sweetwater first responders recognized for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts


SWEETWATER, Texas - Many first responders and non-profit organizations who went to south Texas to help Hurricane Harvey victims are back home, and several from Sweetwater were recognized for their valiant efforts.

Tuesday morning, Sweetwater Fire Chief Grant Madden and Sweetwater Police Chief Brian Frieda presented Meritorious Service Awards to two police officers and two firefighters in front of Sweetwater City Comissioner meeting.

The Sweetwater Fire Department was deployed on August 26. The crew was assigned to an ambulance staging area in Spring Branch to assist emergency crews. Days later, firefighters Will Shaefer and Bryan Buckley went on a mission that involved finding a way through high water to pick up and deliver two nurses who needed to staff coast guard rescue missions. Ambulances in their care did not miss a single mission.

"Thank you just doesn't seem to be enough," Madden said as he presented the awards.

Madden told the comissioners about a situation in which his crew was stranded without food, water or shelter. A Buc-ee's convenience store in Katy opened its doors to help dozens of first responders. Madden said it was brand new store that hadn't opened yet, but still offered food, restrooms and place for them to sleep.

" We know God works in mysterious ways but I didn't expect to find it at a Buc-ee's," Madden said.

It wasn't long before the Sweetwater Police Department was deployed during Hurricane Harvey. Sgt. Armando Renteria and Det. Brian Davis were among the first to offer their services. The two were assigned to assist the Harris County Sheriff's Department with high-water rescues, anti-looting detail, crowd control situations, and clearing backlogged calls for service.

Frieda said, "It is your willingness to serve in an area that was completely unknown to either of you, and for that, I and the citizens of Sweetwater applaud you for your service."

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