James Becker remembers looking out the window of his Rochester Hills home on the afternoon of Jan. 11 and seeing a woman "in obvious distress" collapsed on a curb nearby.
So, he said, he did what any good citizen would do: He approached the woman to see if she needed help and, when she said she did, he called 911.
That woman was Rochester Hills mom Kelly Remick, who had been out for a jog when she started to feel weak and lose her breath. It would later be discovered that Remick was suffering an aortic dissection; Becker's 911 call would set in motion an hourlong series of events that ended with doctors performing life-saving surgery on Remick.
On Tuesday, Becker was honored by Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard for his quick thinking that saved Remick's life. It was part of a ceremony for citizen heroes; Becker was one of about 25 people honored.
"I remember she looked like she was in obvious distress," said Becker, who has lived in his Canterbury Trail home since 1974. "When I called 911 I told them to hurry. I know you always say that, but I really meant it. I knew she didn't have much time."
Read the complete account of what happened to Remick in .
This isn't the first time Becker has been honored for civilian actions: In 1970 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Richard Nixon for helping to launch Apollo 13. The Medal of Freedom is one of the highest civilian awards. Becker is a retired engineer who worked closely with the space program.
He smiled when asked to compare the two recognitions.
"As an ordinary citizen, you live in fear that you'll someday come across an accident," Becker said. "I've never had the opportunity to do anything like that."
Becker has not met Remick, but he said he was relieved to hear that she survived. "It was not her time," he said.
His wife, Mary Becker, was with him at the time he made the phone call. The couple was about to walk their dog when they noticed Remick.
"The dear Lord wanted her to still be here; he wanted her to be a mother still," Mary Becker said.