GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - First responders suffered their own losses in Katrina, yet, they put their personal lives on hold to help others.
In the wake of the devastating storm, responders pulled people from rooftops, helped the hurting and recovered the bodies of storm victims.
"I really want to praise the first responders who are here," said 43rd President, George W. Bush, who made so many trips to South Mississippi after Katrina.
The grateful former president joined Mississippi in recognizing the thousands who answered the call after Katrina.
"And what most Americans can't get a feel for is the courage and the perseverance and dedication of the thousands who rushed into harm's way. Many of whom are in this audience," said Bush.
They saw the storm's devastation, then got to work.
"My most vivid memory was making our way down to the CSX railroad tracks. And once we got on top of that, to see the debris field there and thinking, oh my God, what are we gonna do now?" said former Long Beach Fire Chief, George Bass.
Former First Lady Marsha Barbour, worked side by side with first responders.
"The treasures and the moments that we've shared will be in our hearts forever, and I just thank you for allowing me to serve with you and serve the people of Mississippi," the former first lady told the crowd.
The former president, along with Governor Phil Bryant, took the time to personally thank the many who've dedicated their lives to helping others.
"The search and rescue, the security. The fast reaction. Saved lives," said former Governor Haley Barbour, whose own leadership was credited by so many for helping his state recover so quickly.