AUSTIN -- With a high five from Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, the crowd was off for the sixth annual Run with the Heroes 5K, a chance for Austinites to show their support for first responders by running alongside them.
"It just makes you feel great to see all this kind of support from the community," said Austin-Travis County EMS Chief Ernesto Rodriguez. "It's great to know they're behind us and they're with us and willing to run along with us."
Some supporters at the race were not yet old enough to walk the race themselves.
"They need to understand how important all the first responders are in the community, and we're starting them off young," said Carrie Hines, who brought her children to the race.
This year, people not only ran to say thank you, but to honor a fallen hero -- EMS Captain Randy Trinkle, who died last December.
"Randy had just finished his shift for Austin EMS. He was driving home to Fredericksburg and he was involved in a head-on car collision and lost his life," said Randy's brother, Roger Trinkle.
Captain Trinkle, a 15-year veteran with Austin's EMS, also volunteered as an EMT in Fredericksburg. His brother Roger said he truly loved helping people.
"I remember when he first started," Roger said. "I actually came down with him to Austin and we went to get his new uniforms. He was so excited. And the thing that stood out is in 15 years he never lost that enthusiasm."
"Randy had a real positive attitude and was very energetic," Rodriguez said. "It didn't matter what you threw at Randy, Randy always responded with, 'Right on.' So that was the cheer for today's race."
"Right on" -- the message some are sending to the men and women who put their lives on the line daily to serve and protect, letting them know they're with them.