Lee County first responders honored with Phoenix Award

Reporter: Megan Contreras Photographer: Andrew Miller

FORT MYERS, Fla.- First responders who helped make the difference between life and death were honored at a ceremony on Friday. Some patients called them heroes, but many don’t see themselves that way.

“I don’t think it had actually hit me yet, I think I’m going to go home and probably have a good cry, said 21-year-old James Rosso.

Rosso was invited to be a part of the ceremony honoring some of the first responders who saved his life in April, moments after he was hit by a car.

“It means a lot to me, but I can’t imagine how much it means them,” said Rosso. “They dont get to know what happens to you down the road, they don’t know whether you make it or not.”

Rosso went into cardiac arrest three times. First responders fought to save his life, something Rosso’s mother won’t ever forget.

“Hugging these guys today, only something I’ve ever dreamt of,” said Tammy Rosso.

“It’s nice to see the outcome, and when they are young like this, and as smart as he is, and such a nice kid, it makes the job so worthwhile,” said LeeFlight Nurse Marielle Shields.

Rosso wasn’t the only patient there to honor the heroes.

In total, 22 patients watched 155 Lee County first responders get honored with the Phoenix Award. The first responders say the honor is nice, but they are just doing their job.

“We very rarely get to see the bi-product of our work and to see a patient fully recover is really an honor,” said LeeFlight Nurse Jason Farmer.

“I don’t know if they realize what they do,” said Rosso.

Two people were honored with the Citizen Lifesaver Award. Paramedics, EMTs, communications officers, law enforcement officers and firefighters all received awards.

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