DIBOLL, TX (KTRE) - They may not be fighting a war overseas, but local law enforcement officers are heroes in their own right.
"Rape, robbery, murder, burglary, child molesters, some of the most horrible things you've ever seen in your life. These guys work with it every day. So, so that's why I'm so honored to be here. To bring a little humor on that other side of life for them," J.B. Smith, sheriff of Smith County, said.
Law enforcement officers from all around East Texas were gathered Tuesday night at the Diboll Civic Center at a celebration for their own benefit. It was funded by Lufkin Crime Stoppers.
Smith had people throughout the room laughing, laughter that's well deserved for these men and women who put in long hours while sometimes putting their lives on the line.
They're out serving our community every day but their work often goes unnoticed.
Which is why the Lufkin Crime Stoppers have worked hard to raise money to hold the 16th annual banquet where lawmen and women can get together, enjoy food, fun and prizes.
"The fact that they walk up and say thank you for thinking about us. And that's what we want. That somebody's out there thinking about them," said Rocky Thigben, president of Lufkin Crime Stoppers.
"We're usually the bad guys in most people's eyes that we deal with. So its nice to come to something where somebody shows appreciation for all the work that we do out there for them," Lufkin Police Officer Toby Stanaland said.
It's a celebration to remind local law enforcement officers that the community is supporting their efforts.
"It gets everybody pumped up and makes you really want to get out and work that much harder," Angelina County Sheriff Kent Henson said.
"The event may have cost thousands of dollars, all of which crime stoppers raised but the appreciation is priceless," Henson said.
There were more than 100 prizes given away at the event, ranging from electronics to cash prizes. A lot of people walked away lucky winners. And even for those who didn't win, everyone seemed to be having a great time.