SANANTONIO -- The San Antonio Police Department honored civilians and officers who have performed outstanding, sometimes lifesaving, achievements.

This is an annual event that draws hundreds of people together to recognize acts of heroism and greatness. Those are words you don t hear every day, but they describe the actions of many of the San Antonians honored on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.

They are the best of the best. Men and women who put their lives on the line were described with words like: selfless, bravery and courage.

One such man is Michael Thornton who received Officer of the Year and a Purple Heart Award.

You don t come to work to win awards and get medals or anything like that, said Thornton. You know, every one of use here today, we come to work just to try to help the community and make it a better place to live. I mean, San Antonio s already the best place in the world to live. I wouldn t live anywhere else.

Thornton s life was changed forever on January 22, 2011. He stopped to help a stranded motorist change a tire when a suspected drunk driver crashed into him. His leg was severed below the knee. He was hanging from a guardrail but citizens helped save him. Thompson kept his composure and radioed for help.

After recovering from his life-threatening injury, Thornton is not only back on the force, he is targeting drunk drivers.

I ve always had a fever to go out and arrest DWI drivers, Thornton emphasized. You know, they re a threat to every one of us.

Thornton called his awards a great honor. He shared the spotlight with other officers and citizens who prove when it comes to grace under pressure, doing what is right may not always be easy, but it s appreciated.

Thornton said he lost his brother in a drunk-driving crash, so for him, being on the streets with the DWI Task Force is personal.

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