SAN ANTONIO -

The day began at the San Antonio Police Academy with a solemn ceremony for its 53 officers killed in the line of duty from the mid-1800’s to late last year.

Families gathered in the memorial garden surrounding a granite wall with their loved one’s names and photographs.  

Among them was Lisa Perez, who said she and her three sons have not missed a single ceremony since her husband, Officer Oscar Perez, was killed in 2000 while trying to arrest a suspect in a hotel room.

“I’m very proud of my husband. I’m proud for what he stood for and how he died and more importantly, I’m proud of how he lived,” Perez said.

San Antonio police Chief William McManus said the ceremony helps to comfort the families of  the fallen and serves a reminder “of how dangerous this job is, how careful we must be.”

A luncheon hosted by the 100 Club of San Antonio at First Presbyterian Church downtown, was a milestone for Kenneth Vann Jr., Ryann Garza and Christopher Scianna, whose fathers died in the line of the duty.

Bexar County Sgt. Kenneth Vann and Constable Mark Scianna were killed in separate incidents in 2011, SAPD officer Hector Garza in 2001.

At the time of their deaths, their children’s names were placed in a survivor’s fund. At age 18, they are awarded funds that will help them pay for college.

“These awards are a legacy that their parents give to them,” said Richard Miller, the group’s president.

Miller said the 100 Club is so named for the yearly $100 donations from the public that initially help with a family’s immediate needs.

“At the moment of the tragedy occurs, we get to the house in 24 to 48 hours, we provide them a check,” Miller said.

In the wake of the explosion in West, Texas, that killed 10 first responders, Miller said the local group will send donations to the newly formed 100 Club of McLennan County.

For a list of recent stories Jessie Degollado has done, click here.