Friday, 15 June 2012 by David Tuma
Editor's note: This story is part of a three part series to honor those in Belton chosen to participate in this year's parade.
At the July 4th Parade this year policemen, firemen and teachers from each of the major departments and school districts in Bell County will be honored.
The theme of this years July 4th Parade is "Hometown Heroes."
"It is a way to say 'Thank You' to those that serve," said David Jones, this years Parade Chairman.
It is the first time, if ever, that a part of the parade in Belton will honor these civil servants.
The July 4th Parade is part of the Belton's Chamber of Commerce's July 4th Celebration that includes the PRCA Rodeo and multiple events in the community.
The attendance is simply a Bell County event with upwards of 40,000 visitors the day of the Parade.
Representing the Belton Fire Department are Tony Chapa-EMT, Richard Chavarria-EMT and Matt Mull-EMT.
"What I like about Belton is the small town atmosphere. As a fireman you have a direct impact that you don't have it you live in a big city. In Austin you work a zip code. We get to know the people we serve," said Mull. "It boils down to helping others. They trust us with the worst day of their lives. Just the other day we had a lady pull up to the station
with tears running down her cheeks and hand us her child and ask us for help."
Chapa said helping the local youth is a challenge of being an EMT.
"Being a parent I understand what it means when a child need help. It gives me the ability to know what they are feeling and I can help calm them down. The toughest thing is when you have done everything you can do and it is just out of your hands. It makes it a very tough day," said Chapa.
Chavarria said he enjoys living in and working in Belton.
"I grew up in central Texas and it is just a great place to live. It feels great to help others especially the children. Those kids really appreciate the help. My children love that I am a firefighter but the miss me when I am gone for 24-hours working. They want me to stay home. But when the shift is done seeing my kids is special," said Chavarria.