Retired paramedic Joe Cruz, of Oregon, received a medal in April for his service during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

Interviewed by Dalles, Oregon news channel KGW8, Cruz recalls the sights, sounds and smells of the day as he worked at Ground Zero.

“We heard all the radio traffic, lots of things going on, it was madness,” he said in the article. “They started the evacuation of people that were able to make it down. They were bringing down patients, we were treating them right there and transporting … We could hear the people crashing through the windows at the Trade Center. You could see everything, and we had to walk through that taking patients out.”

Cruz worked at Ground Zero for 17 days, including following locating devises to find firefighters lost in the rubble.

According to the article, Cruz moved to Dalles, Oregon, for a “fresh start.” He got married and worked as a paramedic. Eight years later, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

In April, Cruz received a call from the New York City Fire Department that they discovered a medal given to him for his service, and mailed it to his residence.

“I was really excited to learn I was getting that medal,” he said in the article. “We don’t need them, but at the same time, it puts a stamp on your career. We get a little recognition.”

Read more from KGW8.

—Hanna Smith, Editorial Director