Some hard-working emergency responders received special thanks for their dedication to helping others on Friday.
The Optimist Club of Knoxville gave out several American Hero of the Year awards to some local firefighters, EMTs and dispatchers. Their acts of heroism included delivering a baby and saving an infant on Christmas Eve with CPR.
The Optimist Club says the awards are only a small token of appreciation for the commitment first responders bring to work every day.
"I think the general public sometimes forget the people who are there when they are at their most vulnerable. When you need help and you can't help yourself, they will come in the middle of the night, in all kinds of weather, to make sure they can keep you and your property safe. And that's very important for our community. We feel safe in our homes because of them," said Ranee Randby, American Hero chairperson.
The awards luncheon was started after the September 11 terrorist attacks as a way to recognize the dedication of emergency responders.