BOSTON (CBS) — They’re on the line every day, and today was a time to honor the heroism of Massachusetts police officers who risk their lives for others.
The “Trooper George L. Hanna Memorial Awards” recognized 21 officers for bravery today, and 1 more who made the ultimate sacrifice. The State House was the scene as police officers from across the Commonwealth gathered to honor and remember.
“We are all of us I think, given a moment of pause and an opportunity to say thank you for the professionalism, the dedication, the devotion, the restraint that makes law enforcement successful,” says Governor Deval Patrick.
The Hanna Awards recognize bravery in the line of duty. Boston Police Sergeant Edward Norton received two. Norton risked his life diving into the Fort Point Channel to rescue a woman.
“It’s just humbling and I’d say an honor. As police officers people are looking to us. We can’t look over our shoulder and wait for someone else to come. So it’s as simple as that,” says Sgt. Norton.
Massachusetts State Trooper John Vasquez suffered three serious gunshot wounds during a hostage taking incident.
“I’m lucky he didn’t know how to shoot a gun because there’s really no reason why I should be here, at that close range with a rifle and my car taking 17 hits. I got lucky,” says Trooper Vasquez.
Officers from Malden, Chicopee and Saugus were also honored for their bravery.
And finally, a Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously to Springfield Police officer Kevin Ambrose, killed in the line of duty last year. His family accepted on behalf of the 36 year veteran.
“Anybody who can do police work for that amount of time is a special person. And I actually want to follow in my father’s footsteps as well,” said Officer Ambrose’s son, Kyle.
Today’s awards are named after State Trooper George Hanna who was killed in 1983. This is the 30th time the honors were handed out.
Here is a complete lists of the people honored today:
Officer Kevin Ambrose (Posthumously)
Sgt. Edward Norton
Officer Elizabeth Philbin
Officer Mark Bordley
Officer Earl Jacob
Sgt. Thomas Brooks
Officer Pele James
Officer Joel Resil
Officer Mathew Pieroway
Det. Michael Casaletto
Sgt. Richard Correale
Officer John Delaney
Officer Robert Selfridge
Lt. Detective David Gecoya
Officer David Benoit
Officer Joseph Brunelle
Officer Johnny Jusino
Mass. State Police:
Trooper John Vasquez
Trooper Matthew Gladu
Trooper David Podworski
Trooper Keller Williams