The Dallas Police Department recognized 13 officers and five citizens for their heroic, life-saving actions in a special ceremony on Friday.
"Officers need to see and hear their hard work being appreciated," Police Chief David Brown told a packed room of officers and family members. "[These are] example after example of stories that never get told."
The four officers who helped save the life of a 4-year-old girl shot during a drive-by shooting on Aug. 22 were recognized for their quick actions. Officers Christina Mattox, Jesus Tovar and Branden Helms were awarded the Life Saving Award. Officer Juan Manuel Saldana Jr. was awarded a Certificate of Merit. Their supervisors said had they not made a tourniquet to stop the young child from bleeding, the child would not have survived.
Eight officers were recognized for lifting a vehicle off a motorcyclist pinned under a car after a horrific crash on July 9. Officers Jason Henrichs, Laura Beddow, William Mathis, Kevin Mathew, Boz Rojas, R.L. Rushing, Michael Sullivan and Senior Cpl. Michael Welch were awarded the Life Saving Awards.
For the families of these officers, a "thank you" is important.
"I don't think they get enough recognition for what they do every day, so I love to see it. They do stuff like this everyday," said Megan Brandon, Rojas' fiancée.
"A lot of behind-the-scenes work doesn't get seen by the citizens," said Rojas' mother, Magda Rojas, who is also the wife of a Dallas police officer. "A lot of the officers are truly involved in their community."
The department also recognized the citizens who help officers do their jobs.
Jennifer Bowdler was recognized after helping perform CPR on Senior Cpl. Jimmy Thongrivong.
The officer was on bike patrol in March when he suffered a sudden heart attack. Together with his partner, Lt. Ernest Sherman, the two performed CPR until paramedics could arrive. Thongrivong went through a long recovery but is now back on the force.
"She deserves every bit of it," said Thongrivong about Bowdler. "She's the reason I'm still here serving the city of Dallas."