Hugs, handshakes and heroism.
All of those elements came together at the First Financial Bank tent on the 17th fairway at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial Country Club Thursday.
In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Day, First Financial Bank invited 250 first responders to the event.
Among those invited was Fort Worth police officer Matthew Pearce. Pearce was shot multiple times on March 15 while in pursuit of a wanted man and his son in far west Fort Worth.
“It’s been a long couple of months. We’ve come a long way,” said Pearce.
Pearce was greeted with a flood of handshakes and well-wishes from the gathering.
“It’s an honor, just like it is for all these other guys,” Pearce said.
Pearce, riding in a wheelchair, went inside the tent briefly then came outside and began visiting with friends.
“I want to watch some golf,’’ said Pearce, who favors Jordan Spieth in the tournament.
Later, Mayor Betsy Price joined the gathering.
“Hi Matt,” Price said while giving Pearce a hug. “Being home agrees with you.
“This young man is a survivor.”
Among those in the crowd was police officer James Gray, a longtime friend of Pearce.
“I worked with him for years,” Gray said. “First Financial set this up and put it out through their communications. It’s a great setting.”
Gray perhaps best summed up the event that had representatives of the police, fire and ambulance.
“It makes me emotional to see people come out with this support,” Gray said. “We love the job we do. We don’t do it for thank yous.”