Tucson firefighter honored; First responders honored at Heroes Day

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Statewide honors Thursday in Mesa for a Tucson firefighter who responded to last summers deadly helicopter crash north of the University of Arizona.

Tyler Menke received this year's "Arizona Firefighter of the Year" award.  Menke was among the first on the scene when the LifeNet air ambulance went down.

He dragged one victim out of the flames then ran back into the fire to rescue the other two.

That allowed two victims to live long enough for their families to say goodbye.

"Excited, it's a little overwhelming.  It's not really something we're usually, not put in the spot light, not used to speaking to this amount of people. I would rather be back at the station with they guys but I definitely appreciate the honor," said firefighter Tyler Menke.

In addition to Thursday's big honor Menke received a $1,000 check and a stay at a Phoenix resort.

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Heroes Day kicked off Thursday morning at La Encantada, giving the community a chance to say, “Thank you” to our first responders for everything they do.

In the days before the tenth anniversary of September 11, the Tucson community came together to pay homage to those who protect us.

“This week our country looks back to remember the times that included great bravery and sacrifice from our first responders and average citizens. We honor them today,” said Tucson businessman Jack Furrier.

Thursday at La Encantada, members of every branch of emergency services were honored for their sacrifice and commitment to Tucson’s citizens and helping us during times of tragedy.

“Unfortunately trauma is a mixed blessing in many ways. It’s a difficult word and it affects everyone," said Dr. Peter Rhee.

Dr. Peter Rhee, a prominent figure during the January 8 shootings, told first responders that if it weren't for them, he wouldn't be able to do his job as well as he does.

Ron Barber, a shooting victim on that day said thanks to those that saved his life.

“I’m certainly grateful to you for my life and I’m grateful to the team at UMC in saving my life," said Ron Barber.

Days before we remember that awful day in New York, Washington and rural Pennsylvania ten years ago, those wounded 8 months ago remember the heroes in Tucson.

“They responded with professionalism, with skill and I believe firmly because of the work they did that morning, lives that were saved and injuries minimized,” said Barber.