VAN, Texas (KETK) — On Tuesday night, the Van Lady Vandals had their rivalry basketball game against Lindale, and before tip-off, they set aside time to honor local heroes. 

The Lady Vandal Basketball team said that while it is exciting to have so much support, they wanted to turn the attention to first responders.

“Teams don’t do stuff like this, coaches don’t do stuff like this, people don’t acknowledge those who do so much for you,” said Ella Barrett, senior basketball player.

Tuesday night, they decided they wanted to use their platform to turn the appreciation onto first responders.

“With sports being such a big emphasis in society today, we thought you know, who are the real heroes out there?” said Kay Bachert, Van Women’s Basketball Head Coach.

Everyday heroes like Kyle Jones from Van, who has been a firefighter for 23 years in the city of Mesquite, put their lives on the line.

“It’s a huge honor, I mean we all do a job we get a lot of appreciation for anyway but, to be recognized in front of our hometown and our own people it’s pretty special,” said Kyle Jones, Mesquite Fire Captain.

Bachert said she used to be a police officer.

“We wanted to sponsor and honor some of our own with our platform and say ‘Hey listen, we know the dedication it takes from you and your family,'” said Bachert.

The first responder appreciation event was a great turnout. Both Lindale and Van were happy to honor the local heroes at the big rivalry game. Van won 47-31.

Stay up-to-date with the latest local news, sports, weather, politics and more using the KETK mobile app on Android and iPhone.