Created: 12/11/2013 6:49 PM KSTP.com
By: Jenna Lohse
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- We are well into the season of giving with Christmas just two weeks away. Today 14 individuals were honored for their acts of giving all year around. We made it to the Mayor's Medal of Honor Awards and spoke to one recipient who provides hope and support to those who need it most.
"They have given a gift, a pretty special gift,” said Mayor Ardell Brede.
The city of Rochester honored 14 people who don't think twice when it comes to giving. For 30 years now, the Mayor's Medal of Honor Awards have gone to those who do so much. For many recipients Wednesday, their award came as a surprise.
The emotion on Cresta Valentine's face as she was announced the award winner for human services says it all, "I am very surprised,” she said. Cresta is being recognized for more than 1,400 hours spent manning the sexual assault crisis line in Olmsted County. Her passion for helping victims of sexual abuse stems from a personal experience.
"I was in a domestic violence situation where I was beaten and stabbed three times and in the hospital I found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter,” said Cresta Valentine.
Cresta made a promise to herself she wouldn't let the cycle of violence continue. She now responds to Saint Marys Hospital to meet victims at any time of day or night.
"To hope that I can give one person the strength that they need to get through the worst night of their life,” said Valentine.
"You think of the gifts that these people have given to this community, of their time, talents that they've done, the compassion that have and doing it where they'd like to be under the radar,” said Mayor Brede.
Looking around the room to the other award recipients, Cresta says she feels honored to be among them, "They are the foot soldiers of our community, they're the ones out reaching everybody and being a part of our community and touching lives,” said Valentine.
Mayor Brede says he's amazed by the acts of kindness and giving in our area, honoring just a few is the least they can do.