Fort Bend County holds its annual peace officer memorial service

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – It was a solemn ceremony to remember law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty in Fort Bend County.

Seventeen lives were honored, and so were the families that remain.

One of those remembered was Deputy John Norsworthy, of the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, who was killed in a car accident while responding to a call on Jan. 4, 2011.

Norsworthy's father, John Sr., said his son died while working in a profession he loved but, seven years later, the pain of his death remains.

"You do it day by day and you get to where you can bear it," Norsworthy said. "But it really never changes. It's a void in the family."

Another fallen hero was Police Chief Ernest Mendoza, of the Needville Independent School District Police Department.

"He smiled all the time. That's what he wore," Mendoza's sister, Dolores Mendoza-Guerra, said. "He also wore a badge that represented the city that he served. But the smile -- that he gave everyone."

Mendoza also was killed in a car accident. He was hit head-on by a drunken driver in January 2007.

The families said that, although pain still lingers from the loss of their loved ones, the annual ceremony helps them share that loss.

"It is a great honor to represent our family, and to see other families here that are hurting too," Mendoza-Guerra said. "So this brings healing to our hearts."

National Police Week begin on May 13. The Sheriff's Office holds its memorial service a few weeks early each year to allow its color guard to participate in other events during that week.

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