By Makenzie O'Keefe

DENVER (CBS4) – Less than a month after the September 11th attacks, the United States declared war on Afghanistan. Many military members from Colorado were deployed, including some Denver police officers.

(credit: CBS)

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On Wednesday, more than a dozen officers who were mobilized to the military after the attacks were honored by the Denver Police Foundation.

“To serve at any great capacity is always a great honor,” explained Lieutenant Kenneth Chavez, who has served as a Denver police officer for 40 years. “It was something they didn’t expect but they raised their hand, gave a commitment and went off to serve.”

Denver Police Lt. Kenneth Chavez (credit: CBS)

Lt. Chavez was one of many officers whose life changed after the September 11 attack.

“There was sorrow for the lives that were lost,” he explained. “And there was resolve, knowing we needed to go forward and defend our country and keep it safe.”

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(credit: CBS)

Lt.  Chavez was mobilized, meaning he was ordered to leave his post as an officer in Denver, and go to serve with the National Guard. He said he was serving in honor of the men and women who lost their lives on this day 18 years ago.

“That was always in the back of our minds to make sure that we served them well,” he said. “I was mobilized three separate times on three separate combat tours.”

(credit: CBS)

These officers were simultaneously working as officers to protect our community, while also going overseas to protect the nation. The work was tough, but seemed to be a small price to pay for the lives that were changed on 9/11.

“Every time we have dinner we always pray for the people who aren’t here for us today,” explained Denver police officer John Ha.

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The Denver Police Foundation provides aid to law enforcement across the city who are facing tough times.

Makenzie O'Keefe