By Oralia Ortega

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Several civilians and police officers were honored for acts of bravery and lifesaving efforts as the Miami-Dade Police Department held its “Awards of Outstanding Service.”

“We’re going to be recognizing some special people for special actions that they took,” said Miami-Dade Police Department Director Juan Perez.

Among the officers honored were Yovani Sosa, Joseph Vallejos, Gepsy Perez and Edward Brochu.

Back in December, the officers rushed to the rescue when a man was trapped in a burning vehicle off the Palmetto and Bird Road.

“Literally moments after they dragged the body out of the car, that car became fully engulfed and their lives it could have been them inside that car,” Perez said.

The officers received a thunderous applause as they went up to receive their recognition.

“These officers receive officially the Exceptional Service Award, Life-Saving Award, Gold Medal of Valor and Purple Heart, so congratulations,” Perez said.

Sgt. John Saavedra was recognized for his bravery in a confrontation that was all caught on surveillance video.

Sgt. Saavedra was shot several times on July 31st, 2012, while investigating a hydroponics lab in Southwest Miami-Dade.

Footage from the scene stops right before the shots are fired, but you can hear just what he faced that day as he not only saved his life but the lives of his colleagues despite being severely wounded.

“I love what I do. I love what I do every day and I wear this uniform proudly,” Sgt. Saavedra said.

Also honored were the three people who came to the rescue when Maj. Ricky Carter was involved in a serious motorcycle crash on I-75 last month.

“That drive that he has to continue to be a leader in this agency and in the community would not have happened if not for three individuals that stopped that day, applied tourniquets, did first aid, took vitals.  They sustained his life until fire rescue got there,” Perez said.

Thalia Rodriguez, Mr. Roberto Lanzeti and Bianca Caridad Diaz are credited with saving Maj. Carter’s life.

“I’ve gained a family as a result of all of this. To give you some background, I work at the Ryder Trauma where Ricky ended up being air lifted to and I recognize a couple of faces that ended up showing up under some not so great circumstances,” said Caridad Diaz. “I most definitely want to thank every single person in this room.”


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