The children who survived a deadly Feb. 8 house fire got the opportunity to see the firefighters who fought the fire at their home on North Grand Avenue at the 28th annual Tyler Fire Department's annual awards banquet on Saturday.
Camden Anderson, 6, and Collin Anderson, 2, who were hospitalized at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth after the fire shook hands, gave hugs and chatted with the firefighters who saved them from the devastating fire that took the life of their grandmother, uncle and sister.
Sharon Janice Brown, 60, Christopher Anderson, 40, and 1-year-old Cambryn Anderson-McAllister died as a result of injuries sustained in the fire.
"I put this together to get them all together," Tyler Fire Chief David Coble said. "Its a healing process."
Chelsea Anderson, the daughter of Sharon Brown, brother of Christopher Anderson and mother of Cambryn, Camden and Collin said it was rewarding for her to meet the people who saved her children.
"I'm appreciative for them," she said. "Its nice to see them. When the kids see fire trucks they say things like they were at my grandma's house."
Anderson said her and her children are in counseling and working through the tragedy.
"My mom was my biggest supporter," Anderson said. "There's not one thing that doesn't remind me of my mom and my brother."
Coble said having the Anderson family at the banquet was great for the firefighters and their healing process.
"The night was fantastic," Coble said. "It was great to honor some worthy firefighters and recognize Matt Ford as our firefighter of the year."
During the banquet, retirees were given a coin and military veterans received a pin. The three newest retirees were given a plaque.
Tyler Mayor Pro Linda Sellers thanked the firefighters for their service and said she was pleased that the city is going to open two new fire stations.
The department also gave away dozens of door prizes donated by local businesses.
Honored firefighters included:
Firefighter of the Year - Firefighter Matt Ford
Distinguished Service Award - Captain Bob Moon
Distinguished Service Award - Captain Morgan Herron
Exceptional Service Award - Joshua Johnston
Exceptional Service Award - Ronnie Hunt
Exceptional Service Award - John Brown
Exceptional Service Award - Thomas Gortmaker
Teamwork Award - Ronnie Hunt
Teamwork Award - Aaron Medders
Teamwork Award - Matthew Daniel
Teamwork Award - James Seaton
Teamwork Award - Terry Hawkins
Teamwork Award - Noah Shipman
Teamwork Award - Ryan Hay
Promotion Certificate - Captain Matthew Jenkins
Promotion Certificate - Captain Dustin Goodwin
Promotion Certificate - Engineer Jason Williams
Promotion Certificate - Engineer Clay Starling
Legends Award - Captain Royce Daugherty
Legends Award - Captain Ross Hamilton
Legends Award - Captain Dexter Cook
Chief's Certificate of Merit - Ryan Richardson, UT Heath East Texas EMS
Chief's Certificate of Merit - Ronie Seymour, UT Heath East Texas EMS
Chief's Certificate of Merit - Rick Stone, UT Heath East Texas EMS
Chief's Certificate of Merit - Amanda Victory, UT Heath East Texas EMS
Friend of the Department Award - Dr. David Ball, Concierge Care
Friend of the Department Award - Brookshire Grocery Company
Friend of the Department Award - Sam Greenberg, Greenberg Smoked Turkey, Inc.
Friend of the Department Award - Jeff Johnston, Chick-fil-A
Lifesaving Awards - Batallion Chief David Admire Jr., Captain Morgan Herron, Captain Matt Jenkins, Captain Mike Nipp, Captain Hector Nunez, Captain Zach Powers, Engineer Greg Allen, Engineer Daniel Barker, Engineer Daniel Baker, Engineer Larry Crowson, Engineer Larry Robert Graham, Deputy Fire Marshal Josh Spinhirne, Firefighter Nathan Adams, Firefighter Chad Baker, Firefighter Josh Brannen, Firefighter Scott Dodgen, Firefighter Matt Ford, Firefighter Steven Jones, Firefighter Brian McCawley, Firefighter Jason Moore, Firefighter Parker Stringer and Firefighter Jason Wright