City Honors Finest-Bravest Haiti Rescuers

By John Noel and Hasani Gittens
|  Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010  |  Updated 1:33 PM EDT
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The <a title=FEMA-sponsored Search and Rescue team, made up of 80 members of the NYPD and FDNY, arrived back in New York over the weekend." />

NBCNewYork

The FEMA-sponsored Search and Rescue team, made up of 80 members of the NYPD and FDNY, arrived back in New York over the weekend.

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New York City has honored a police and fire rescue team for its "selfless and heroic service in Haiti."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city commissioners thanked the team members of NY Task Force One at a ceremony Tuesday.

“There’s an awful lot of work ahead in Haiti, and an awful lot of mourning, but today, we thought it was important to recognize the members of Task Force One, who’ve made us proud once again," the mayor said.

The task force is credited with saving six Haitians who were buried alive in the rubble, including two children.

"Six survivors out of thousands and thousands lost may not seem very significant, but I think its fair to say to those six people and to their families and loved ones it really means everything," said Bloomberg at the event.

"It was an amazing feeling," said Battalion Chief Joe Downey said of the rescue of those two kids -- which began when they saw the father digging with a crowbar.

Downey lost his own father, Chief Ray Downey, on 9/11.

The team members received certificates saying they represent "the very best" of the city's "spirit of compassion and community."

Four furry members of the teams K-9 unit also received edible "Keys to the City."

Eighty members of New York Task Force One, trained to respond to catastrophic events involving the collapse of heavy steel and concrete, spent one week in Haiti.

The team previously worked at ground zero and in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav.

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