There was a room full of heroes, paramedics, EMTs, and firefighters, but three people not trained as first responders were also being recognized.
"I didn't think about it for a second. It was purely instinctual," said Tracey McCormick, a Good Samaritan.
It was on Father's Day that McCormick on her way home to Alameda saw a car full of people sinking in the Oakland estuary and jumped into the water to try to save them.
"I was treading water. Looking at two kids through a pane glass window and they were kind of touching my hands too," said McCormick.
Two men from San Leandro who were coming back from a Father's Day brunch also jumped into action. Erik Schorken used a knife to break a window and Andrew Goodwin helped the victims when they got to shore. On Wednesday all three received California Emergency Medical Services awards and beyond the honor, they have a family forever grateful.
"I felt like, 'I'm really going to die now.' That's what I thought of myself and I thought let me go and go to my kids and hug them for the last time," said Jayalakshmi Hassan, a survivor.
Hassan and her children now consider the Good Samaritans extended family and their thanks includes paramedic Rebecca Foster who pulled them from the car just before it went under. She also received a medal.
"We really thank them for saving my life and my family's life," said Hassan.
There are 60,000 EMTs and 20,000 paramedics in the state, but bystanders willing to risk their lives? On Wednesday we met three.