BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. - Sixteen unselfish individuals were honored for their bravery and service Thursday night in ceremonies at the Marriott Northwest. Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek called them "extraordinary citizens."
Among those honored were 21-year-olds Geoffrey Racette and Phillip Henderson. Racette received an award of Merit for his efforts in January that resulted in the saving of Nancy Breberg, 67, who had been trapped in her car overnight in a frozen lake in Plymouth.
Breberg, her husband Ron, and Racette's two younger siblings and mother joined him for the special recognition. "Very happy," said Nancy Breberg. "He deserves everything he can get."
"I think it is just amazing that something that I did made it that somebody else can live," said Racette. "It is just incredible."
Racette hopes to have a career someday as an EMT or other public service job. The Brebergs intend to help with his education. Racette said he continues to be recognized by shoppers at the Rainbow Foods in Plymouth where he works.
"I have a lot of people who will come, say hi in the store, and ask 'How is Nancy doing?'", said Racette. "I still have people who go 'Hey hero! How are you doing?"
Phillip Henderson was leading a youth group at Wirth Lake in Minneapolis, when there was a call that a child was missing in August. Henderson located the 7 year old boy under a bridge.
"I seen him laying face down in the bottom of the lake and I jumped in and grabbed him," recalled Henderson. His proud mother, Tasha Henry, stood at his side.
Asked if he felt like a hero, Henderson grinned. "I feel like a hero. Yeah, I feel like a hero, just doing my job. God called me to do it."
The condition of the 7-year-old is not known, but Nancy Breberg is preparing for life in retirement with Ron. He finishes his career in another week. Thursday night, she embraced the young man who saved her from that freezing water. Both accepted the applause of the Sheriff's Department and Minnesota.
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