Police departments across the Central Valley honor citizens for heroic efforts.

Ordinary citizens were recognized Wednesday by local law enforcement for their heroic efforts that saved lives and solved crimes.

"When you think about people that during the course of their day where they come across where they have to make a split second decision as to what to do.

What you saw today were individuals that made the right decision," said Jerry Dyer, Fresno Police Chief.

The Fresno Police Department was just one of several agencies that participated at the 29th Annual Citizen Awards Ceremony of Fresno & Madera Counties Police Chiefs' Association.

Chief Dyer was proud his department was able to recognize and honor seven citizens, including Ricky Jasso.

Jasso received a Citizen Award for helping save a teenage girl this summer after she fell into a canal near Maroa and Dayton in Central Fresno.

"She had what appeared to be a seizure in the water. She was unconscious, she was face down in the water. I knew we had to react fast," he said.

Jasso was at a friend's house near-by when he heard a friend of Mia Esquivel yelling for help. He recalled jumping into the canal and pulling Esquivel out in just a few minutes.

"It seemed like it was going so slow but so fast and I just reacted. And I was just happy I could get to her and I'm happy she's going to be okay," said Jasso.

Esquivel learned more about the man who saved her from police and family members.

Esquivel's father invited Jasso to her 16th birthday party in August, meeting him for the first time.

"It was shocking for me. If it weren't for him I wouldn't be able to have a birthday. I'm just glad I got to meet him," she said.

Esquivel even had the honor of handing Jasso his award on Wednesday.

"I'm glad he got this award. He really deserves it. He's done a lot for me," she said.
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