EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Losing a member in law enforcement in the line of duty can not only affect friends and loved ones but also the community.

One local non-profit is raising awareness about appreciation and dangers that first responders face every day.

Members of the Speedy Memorial Foundation say it’s important that people remember law enforcement officials risk their lives in protecting the community.

The local organization has stepped up to show appreciation to law enforcement personnel and they’re encouraging others to do the same.

“Law enforcement out there go out and put their lives on the line for others on a daily basis,” Javier Lara Jr. said.

Lara has been with the Mission Police Department for 11 years and says there are so many dangers first responders can experience.

“They go out there they leave their families to protect theirs and we do it out of the abundance of our heart, we’re committed in serving the community and that’s what we do,” Lara said.

“This is just a way of thanking them and appreciating everything they do,” President of the Speedy Memorial Foundation Bobbie Espericueta said.

Espericueta lost her husband in the line of duty in 2019 and she says community support can go a long way.

“When it first happened when my husband was killed the community came together and they supported law enforcement so much that I was just so amazed blessed and grateful and doing this kinda helps me give back to the community,” Espericueta said.

The organization provided over 500 free meals for federal, state, county, local and other branches of law enforcement.

“We’re glad that the community supports our law enforcement rather if its federal state local county,” Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said.

The Valley has experienced on-the-job deaths of Border Patrol agent Raul Gonzalez and a K-9 death of Officer Tilin.

“We just experienced some loss in the border patrol just recently here towards the end of last year and it’s been really tough for us, we come out here to support them they come out to support us and it’s just a really good thing,” Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector Chief Gloria Chavez said.

“Everybody in law enforcement has that calling so, we connect with each other and so when one member of our community, our law enforcement community passes away it hurts all of us,” Sheriff Guerra said.

Law enforcement leaders say connecting with the community can play a major role.

“Every year we come together, and we remember those that have lost their lives in the line of duty,” Guerra said.

Members with the Speedy Memorial Foundation say events like these will help high school students with scholarships.