WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — Five police officers and two firefighters from Watertown were honored Wednesday with the Medal of Valor — the highest national award for public safety officers who risk their own safety to save or protect others.

The seven are credited with saving lives during a shootout with Tamerlan Tsarnaev days after the Boston Marathon bombings.

Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder presented the medals to 22 people during a morning ceremony at the White House.

“You’re a rare breed,” Biden said to the recipients. “You’re all crazy. We love you for it. We need you. You are the best thing we have going for us.”

Vice President Joe Biden awards Watertown Police Officer Joseph Reynolds with the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor during a ceremony with Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Vice President Joe Biden awards Watertown Police Officer Joseph Reynolds with the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor during a ceremony with Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This year’s ceremony honored individuals who committed acts of valor between 2011 and 2013.

Watertown Police Sgt. John MacLellan and Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese received the medal, as did officers Joseph Reynolds, Timothy Menton, and Miguel Colon Jr.

Firefighters James Caruso and Patrick Menton were also recipients of the Medal of Valor at Wednesday’s ceremony.

A total of 95 medals have been handed out since Congress created the award in 2001.

For more information, visit the Medal of Valor website.

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