(KLTV) - A Lindale firefighter, injured in the line of duty in January, received the Star of Texas award from Gov. Rick Perry for his commitment to duty.
Joe Yeakley, who was seriously hurt on Jan. 17 when a roof collapsed on him at an early morning house fire, was given the award by the governor in a ceremony on Wednesday morning. The Star of Texas award honors peace officers, firefighters and emergency medical first responders who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.
According to Lindale Fire Lieutenant Kenny Vent, Yeakley is progressing well. He is in rehabilitation in Dallas, but will be in Austin on Wednesday where he will receive is award.
Perry created the Star of Texas awards in 2003 to honor and commemorate selected first responders who made 'profound commitments' while performing their duties. He also designated Sept. 11 as Texas First Responders Day.
Yeakley was leading his team of firefighters into a Lindale house fire early one morning when the building collapsed. Yeakley and three other firefighters were hurt in the collapse. But firefighters say Yeakley's experience might have saved others from being seriously injured.
"He always was the one, he wanted to be on that line. He wanted to be there to make sure that safety factor was there," says Lindale Fire Department Lieutenant Aaron Munn.
Yeakley had instructed many in his own department about safety and that may have saved others from being injured in the blaze.
"He's got a total of about 30 years experience. He's an instructor and very protective. There's quite a few guys that look to him as a father figure. He's a good guy," says Munn.