FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Usually, police are the people who protect and serve the public.
Two average citizens recently returned the favor, helping an officer in need.
Thursday, they were honored for their actions.
The good samaritans were looking for fish and made the catch of the day.
It all started when a train company, CSX, called police to report that someone was stealing railroad ties under a bridge in Fayetteville.
Officer John Sorie responded. But he did not get far.
Sorie slipped from the bridge and fell 37 feet to the ground. He broke 10 ribs, punctured a lung and bruised his heart.
He was on the ground for roughly 10 minutes -- until two teenagers came along, looking to fish.
Bret Denning and James White saw Sorie and called 911. They kept an eye on the officer until help arrived.
"The next thing I remember is red lights and blue lights and flashlights," Sorie said, "and cops and firemen and EMTs, and me being dragged through the woods and not being able to breathe."
Denning said Sorie "was pretty out of it.
"He told us he was standing up when he was sitting down," Denning said.
Said White: "Instead of standing around or going down the road or whatnot, we stayed there with him, made sure he was all right."
Now, Sorie is out of the hospital. In a ceremony recognizing Denning and White, he thanked the teens who fished him out of trouble.
The police department gave both teenagers awards.
Denning plans to start college at Campbell University this fall. White is joining the Navy.