The most moving part of the ceremony was when every single fan showed support for honorary team captain and local hero, Joseph Hofstetter.
"Firefighters do cry. We are emotional but to see a wounded warrior, a hero, it's going to be a big toll on everybody," said David Fesyuk of the Gates Fire Department.
A standing ovation from the crowd and a salute from his fellow first responders. West Webster firefighter, Joseph Hofstetter, stepped out onto the soccer field. The public seeing him for the first time since the Christmas Eve tragedy.
"It is exhilarating. It's hard to even explain the emotion and support we are getting from the Rochester community on a day like today. It's absolutely overwhelming," said Lt. Syed Ahmed Mustafa of the West Webster Fire Department.
Although Hofstetter didn't speak, his presence was enough. It was a way for the community to see that the injured hero was recovering. A line of firefighters, police officers and EMT's stood by his side as the entire arena showed their love and support to all first responders.
"Through such tragedy, it's been uplifting. It's really helped," said Mustafa.
First Responder Appreciation Day brought in a record crowd for the Lancers game. More than 10,000 fans packed Blue Cross Arena. They bought custom made shirts honoring the fallen heroes and all first responders.
"It's a testament to Rochester and the community as a whole. It's unfortunate obviously what happened but just seeing the community come together and come support each other is unbelievable," said Rich Randall, Vice President of Operations for Rochester Lancers.
While December 24 will never be forgotten, first responders believe events like Sunday's help not only the fire department but also the entire community move on.
"It's been difficult but we have kept our sights forward and we are trying to make the right decisions to move the department forward," said Chief Gerald Pickering of the Webster Police Department.
"The firefighters and paramedics we bond together like no other group does so it's amazing to see that we bond together no matter what happens," said Fesyuk.
On top of donations from the public, the Lancers auctioned off their special first responder jerseys from the game. More than $20,000 was raised for the West Webster Fire Department and the families affected by the tragedy.