MINNEAPOLIS - Police officers and firefighters who responded to the Minnehaha Academy explosion were honored Wednesday at the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office’s Community Leadership Awards.

"My partner and I were the first ones on the scene – yeah, this was probably the most intense thing I have been on," said Minneapolis officer Gregory Kosch as he recalled the morning of August 2.

We got a block away, you could see the smoke and the dust," Kosch remembered.

Months later, the man he helped rescue would become a friend.

"It really hit home with me when he got him up into the house and he looked at us and said 'and guys, thanks for saving me'. That really sent a chill down my spine," Kosch said.

First responders would say they're just doing their jobs. Those closest to them would say it's the way they live their lives.

"I always give my kiss goodbye. That's something we've trained all of our kids to do and every day before he leaves they all give him a hug," said Jackie Kosch, Gregory's wife.

Other Minnehaha responders honored were Minneapolis Police Sgt. Dan McDonald and officers Vicki Karnik, Dean Milner and Matthew Blade. The firefighters were Capt. Brent Bjerkness, Firefighter Chad Juncker, and Fire Motor Operator Mark McClun.

Others honored for their service include members of the Dream Big Attendance Campaign; Chester Cooper as the county corrections director; Sarah Super for starting Break the Silence; and U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger.