CHARDON, Ohio - About 150 people filled a Chardon parking lot to welcome home first responders who were honored Wednesday for their bravery during the deadly high school shooting in February.
Dressed in red and black, supporters held balloons that said "thank you" and signs that read "one heartbeat" as they awaited the arrival of first responders back home from Columbus.
Earlier Wednesday, 50 police officers, firefighters and other first responders were honored by the Ohio Legislature with standing ovations and applause during their visit to the State Capitol.
That gesture and many hugs were shared when they all arrived back to Chardon around 5:30 p.m.
One Chardon High School teacher, who comes from a family of first responders, was among the crowd.
"I had to be here," said Jen Sotera.
Many other people echoed those words, feeling the need to show their support and grateful heart to the men and women who put their lives on the line daily.
On Feb. 27, three students were killed and two others were seriously wounded when a gunman opened fire inside the cafeteria at Chardon High School. Alleged shooter TJ Lane, 17, has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder among other charges.