CPD officers Arèanah Preston, Andrés Vasquez Lasso among those honored at annual Valor Awards ceremony

The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is honoring brave men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. 

Local heroes were recognized for their hard work and sacrifices during the foundation’s annual Valor Awards on Wednesday.

This year's ceremony – held at the Theater on the Lake – paid special tribute to two Chicago police officers who tragically lost their lives serving the city.

The nonprofit ensures their memories live on and that their families are supported as they continue to grieve.

Police officers Arèanah Preston and Andrés Vasquez Lasso were posthumously honored with the Award of Valor. It is the highest honor an officer killed in the line of duty can receive. Their loved ones were in attendance to accept their awards.

Police Supt. Larry Snelling was also there, along with Mayor Brandon Johnson.

Lasso joined the honorable ranks of his fallen brothers and sisters in blue while responding to a domestic disturbance call last March, while Preston was gunned down at the end of her shift in May.

"It was an all-hands-on-deck kind of thing," said Det. William Hronopoulos, Chicago Police Department.

On Wednesday, 17 officers and detectives who responded and investigated the murders of Lasso and Preston were honored with the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Distinguished Service Award.

"We just all came together and we knew that we had to work as a team to do everything we could to get justice for her and her family," said Det. James McNichols, Chicago Police Department.

Det. McNichols and Det. Hronopoulos, who investigated Preston’s murder, were among those who received the honor.

Ald. Matthew O'Shea of the 19th Ward received the Golden Vest Award – the foundation's highest civilian honor.

"In both these cases, these were young police officers, the very type of police officers we want in this department. They wanted to make a difference, they wanted to have a role as a mentor in their communities, and their lives were cut short by senseless violence," said O’Shea. "It's so important that we honor these heroes and that their families know that we will never forget who they were and what they stood for."

Since it was founded, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation has provided more than $19 million to the families of Chicago’s fallen and injured.

"It’s a great honor to [Preston’s] family to know that even though she’s not with us anymore, they’re still part of our family. No matter what. We’re going to be there for her forever," said McNichols.

"Just to have an entity out there like the foundation, taking care of us and our loved ones, God forbid something happens to us, it means a lot," said Hronopoulos.

More than 600 Chicago police officers have been killed in the line of duty. In addition to assisting their families, the foundation also maintains the Gold Star Families Memorial and Park.