SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - In a moving tribute to law enforcement officers, hundreds turned out Tuesday to show support for police officers on the North Shore.
The Slidell Municipal Auditorium was packed with people who wanted to let the men and women in blue know they've got their backs.
"It's 10 times more important to show that support, because if we don't get behind the people who support us and protect us, then we have nowhere to go. What are we gonna do if we don't have those people behind us?" asked Ira Buniff, who drove from Mississippi to attend the event.
During the rally for police, two officers were mentioned, called heroes for their efforts to save a woman who nearly drowned in a Slidell Bayou. Slidell Police Officers Tyler Goings and Cory Pertuit rescued a woman from her car after she drove into Bayou Bonfouca last month. Officer Pertuit said he saw Officer Goings heading into the water and he followed quickly behind.
"We stripped down to our T-shirt and pair of pants and jumped into the water and swam out to the car. The back end was sticking up out of the water. One of our guys gave us a window punch and we punched out the window and we were able to get her out through the back," Pertuit said.
The woman was rescued without any injuries, but both officers sustained minor injuries.
"Couple of stitches in my arm, that's nothing, I didn't even think I needed to go to the hospital. They told me I had to," Pertuit said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Pertuit and Goings were surprised with a free charter fishing trip as a thank you for their act of heroism.
"They really went out of their way and risked their lives to help save this lady, a fishing trip is the least we can do for them," said Capt. Brooks Levy, the owner of Offishial Charters.
"He loves his job, he's very dedicated to it and the fact that he put his life on the line to save this lady and did what he did, I'm very, very proud of him," said Celeste Pertuit, Officer Pertuit's wife.
Pertuit said the fishing trip is a nice treat, but usually he's just as happy with a simple handshake and a thank you - something he's seen a lot of since the recent attacks on police.
"In probably the past week I've had so many people come up and say, 'Thank you for your service.' I loved it, just a thank you is the best you can hear from people," Pertuit said.
The community continues to give back to all first responders, Copeland's provided meals for police and the community during the event and Paul Mitchell Schools in Slidell, Baton Rouge, and Metairie promised free haircuts to all first responders, retired or active, until the end of the month.