SAN ANTONIO – Surrounded by an abundance of flowers and wreaths, family and friends of fallen Bexar County Sheriff's deputies heard words of praise and gratitude for their sacrifice.
"When someone loses their life and makes the ultimate sacrifice, keeping their community safe, it's important that we remember them," said Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau.
The names of 18 deputies killed in the line of duty dating back to 1840 were read aloud during the roll call at Wednesday's ceremony in front of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.
Among them was Deputy David Castillo, who died while responding to a call during a heavy rain in 1991.
"He was going to a call when the car hydroplaned and it wrapped itself around a tree and the car ignited," said his brother Richard Castillo. "He was burned alive in the patrol car."
The fallen deputy's nephew also named Richard Castillo, said he never met his uncle.
"He was my dad's closest brother," Castillo said.
Castillo's father said his brother was his best friend.
"Whenever I had a problem, he was the one I talked to. I can't really describe how close we were," he said as he fought back tears.
Castillo said he and his brother grew up in a rough neighborhood.
"He always knew he was going to be a deputy. He always knew he was going to be an officer," Castillo said.
He said his brother exemplified service to the community.
"He tried to help everybody," Castillo said.
Not only was the ceremony intended to honor the fallen, Castillo said it conveyed a message to other law enforcement officers.
He said, "When the Sheriff's Department does these things, there are officers that will understand they'll never be forgotten."