When Chief David Brown accepted an award on behalf of the Dallas Police Department on Friday evening, he was thinking of his family.
"I've been quite emotional sitting here, getting this award, wondering what my grandfather would think," he said.
Brown's grandfather was a longtime groundskeeper at the State Fair of Texas, and on Friday the fair's president, Mitchell Glieber, handed Brown the inaugural Pride of Texas Award -- a bronze statue resembling Big Tex.
"Thank you so much for all of the appreciation you've given our officers," Brown told a crowd assembled for the fair's opening ceremony. "It has been heartfelt and much needed to keep our folks encouraged, who are on the front lines protecting all of us, day in and day out, willing to sacrifice their lives for our safety."
Glieber said the fair's leadership team came up with the idea for the award in the aftermath of the July 7 ambush in downtown Dallas, where a gunman killed five officers.
"People from across the country were moved by the grace with which Chief Brown and the entire department performed their duties this summer under some of the most difficult of circumstances," Glieber said in a statement. "This award will continue be presented each year to an individual or group that has demonstrated the qualities that Texans are best known for: strength, friendliness, hard-working, courageous and perhaps most of all, pride."
Brown, who was on hand at the opening ceremony as a guest speaker and ribbon-cutter, is retiring Tuesday after 33 years on the force. The chief gained national attention following the ambush, but he hasn't said what he plans to do next.