SAN ANTONIO – A nonprofit organization is honoring fallen first responders across the country by building special wooden chairs in their honor meant to "save their place" at roll call.
The organization, Saving a Hero's Place, began creating "honor chairs" after the death of a fellow classmate at the San Antonio Police Academy.
"There's a lot of time to think about what the officer did," said Michael Pullen, one of the organization's chaplains. "Not necessarily how he died, but how he lived serving his community."
Even though the group's members have never met the fallen heroes, they said the act of building the chairs is very personal, with every chair personally delivered when it's complete.
"We take these chairs to people, and they're always saying, 'Thank you, these mean so much to us.' But I always think, 'Man, it means so much to me, to be able to do this,'" said Brandon Bunch, a chaplain for the organization. "It's just a great representation of how the thin blue line stretches across the entire country."
In all, 36 honor chairs have been made for first responders, and one chair for a K-9 officer.
With the recent violence involving police, members said building the chairs has gone into overdrive. Each chair is made from donated materials and provided at no cost to departments or families of fallen first responders who request one.
"We were talking about that the other day," Tommy Capell, the group's president, said. "We did, like, three or four chairs, and then three officers were killed in the line of duty like, that same week. So trying to keep up is tough."