It was the kind of call every police officer dreads: a baby, unresponsive and not breathing.

Minneapolis officer Dante Dean was confronted with such a situation when, while on patrol July 12, he was rerouted to a report of "unknown trouble" at a house near Lake Nokomis.

When he arrived, he found a woman hovering frantically over an infant and calling for help.

The 1-year-old was still, on a table; with his fingers, Dean started compressions on the tiny chest.

He instructed the woman to give the baby mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but stopped her as she drew a deep breath.

"She took a whole big breath and was about to blow his lungs out," the 23-year department veteran recalled thinking.

Instead, he tilted the infant's head back and blew several quick breaths into his lungs until he felt a faint pulse.

Paramedics and firefighters arrived and rushed the baby to Hennepin County Medical Center. He clung to life for several days and then died.

"The whole time I'm doing chest compressions I'm thinking about my children, when they were little." said Dean, adding that the incident reminded him of the time his 5-year-old son suffered a seizure.

"Officer Dean, you are a true hero and you saved the boy's life," Chief Medaria Arradondo said, recalling what one of the doctors at the hospital said. "I'm not sure there's a better way of saying that."

Dean was one of 67 police officers and civilians singled out at a ceremony Monday at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church for their heroism this year.

Also recognized were 23 city and park police officers and two citizens who responded to Minnehaha Academy after an Aug. 2 natural gas explosion rocked the school, killing two people and injuring nine others.

They worked together to rescue a man trapped in the rubble, after a two-story concrete wall collapsed on his leg, while braving 20-foot flames, Arradondo said.

"Some of the officers noted they felt their hair beginning to melt," Arradondo told the crowd of more than 100 friends, family members and fellow officers.

Arradondo on Monday presented the Medal of Valor for bravery in the line of duty to Minneapolis police Sgt. Karl Olson and officers Jamie Conway, Christopher Flack, Ellen Jensen, Nicholas Kapinos, Jason Okerberg, Michael Primozich, Gabriel Wood, and park police officers Lynette Unke and Andrew Heinen.

Two civilians, David Patz and Paul Meskan, an off-duty Ramsey County sheriff's deputy who was weeding in his garden when the blast occurred, were awarded the Citizen's Award of Honor.

Sgt. Daniel McDonald and officers Matthew Blade, Vicki Karnik, Gregory Kosch and Dean Milner received the Medal of Honor.

Milner, the first officer to the scene of the Minnehaha Academy explosion, also was awarded the Chief's Award of Merit, as were Olson and Lt. Gary Nelson.

"We cannot put in full words the bravery that we witnessed that day," Arradondo said. "They put their lives on the line to save others in need."

Other officers and civilians receiving awards were:

• Community service officer Thomas Ferguson received the Chief's Award of Merit for his work during the X-Games, in what Arradondo called a "story of self-motivation and determination."

• Citizens Meghan Anderson, Melissa Mathis, Caroline Hairfield, Dr. Camille McArdle, Jena Wasche and Jacob Young received the Chief's Award of Merit for rescuing 66 dogs last June who were found malnourished and living in squalor on a New Prague farm.

• Citizens Robert Friddle, Joseph Henderson, Thomas Kraus, Kevin Phillippe and Matthew Thomas received the Medal of Commendation for saving a woman being chased through traffic by a man, who tackled her to the ground and started stabbing her in April.

• Travis Thorpe received the Life Saving Award for performing CPR on a moped driver who collided with an SUV in northeast Minneapolis May 11. The man regained consciousness because of the actions of Thorpe, a former cop, but later died.

• Citizens Olivia Amrani, Jillian Balestri, Gregory Fahey, Connor Meckle, Naomi Seeley and Chelsea Studer was awarded the Life Saving Award for saving a woman who was found hanging from a tree in a south Minneapolis park May 2 — "They worked together and helped a woman in her most desperate time of need," Arradondo said.

• Sgt. Karl Olson and Officer Jason Okerberg received the Life Saving Award for reviving a 17-year-old boy who had been shot outside a south Minneapolis corner store June 4, after wading through a hostile crowd, some of whom were yelling that the victim "needed to die." The boy, Gregory L. Robinson, died the following day at a nearby hospital.

• Officers Aimee Colegrove and Brianna Garman received the Life Saving Award for saving the life of a woman who went into cardiac arrest at a south side fire station earlier this year.

• Officers Steven Derhaag and Trista Kreft received the Life Saving Award for starting CPR on a woman who had overdosed on drugs July 25, until paramedics arrived.

• Officers Alexandra Dubay, Dylan Johnson — the son-in-law of outgoing Council president Barb Johnson, who was in attendance — and Emily Osterberg. received the Life Saving Award for saving a man who had collapsed after overdosing on March 19, in an alley off N. Oliver Avenue.

• Officer Dennis Milner received the Life Saving Award for rescuing a suicidal student who climbed to the roof of her high school in south Minneapolis and threatened to jump.

• Officer Justin Reisdorfer received the Life Saving Award for stopping to treat a gunshot victim near Uptown July 1, even though the alleged shooter was still believed to be in the area.

• Sgt. Renee Lewis, and officers Graham Plys and Officer David Robins received the Life Saving Award for pulling to safety a man having a mental health crisis from the Lake Street Bridge on Sept. 27. Sergeant Deitan Dubuc was awarded the Medal of Commendation for his actions in the same incident.

• Officer Jeff Seidl received the Medal of Valor for disarming a knife-wielding man who rushed toward him, ignoring multiple commands to stop, earlier this year near the intersection of E. 18th Street and Park Avenue. Seidl fired his service weapon at the suspect, but didn't hit him, and eventually wrestled the man into handcuffs.

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