Pima County Sheriff holds Day of Gratitude to honor everyday heroes

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- From the time the first gun shot rang out in front of the Safeway, they rushed to help.

On January 8 local law enforcement agencies, emergency crews and ordinary men and women stopped whatever they were doing to try and save lives.

Thursday the Pima County Sheriff's Department held a "Day of Gratitude" to honor these everyday heroes.

When tragedy struck Tucson on January 8, a sense of horror gripped the people of Tucson.

"First it was like somebody hit me in the stomach and then it was disbelief, I'm sure it didn't happen, it can't happen, somebody must have bad information," said Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.

But in the days and weeks following the Safeway shooting, alongside the horror, came hope.

Hope in human nature and everyday heroes.

"It's just something you do.  I think 95% of the population would have the same reaction," said Patricia Maisch.

"When I think back on it, we didn't even look to see if there might be another shooter or anything else, we just saw that there were people injured and so it was instinctive," said Nancy Bowman.

Nurse Nancy Bowman and her husband were shopping at the Safeway when the shooting happened.  They were some of the first to begin treating victims.

"This was definitely not a one man show, it required the work of everybody in the agency and everybody in other agencies," said Pima County Sheriff's deputy Jason Ogan.

Deputy Jason Ogan and his colleagues in the Pima County sheriff's department were part of 20 different agencies that came out to help.

In a special ceremony Thursday, these men and women were among several who received recognition for their efforts.   Efforts they wouldn't call heroic.

"I don't think of myself as a hero, I think of myself as an ordinary person that had a small part in an extraordinary event," said Maisch.

"You almost feel like wait a minute, I'm not a hero, I'm just a very fortunate individual that survived a horrible event," said Bowman.

"As deputies, law enforcement, EMS personnel, the public looks to us to go and nab bad guys and help them in their time of need," said Deputy Ogan.

And they'll be there if tragedy strikes again.

More than 20 agencies and 24 citizens were honored at Thursday's ceremony.