"The fire got closer and we realized we had to evacuate," Lt. Woods said.
With fire raining down on Belle Harbor during Superstorm Sandy, lt. Woods and his 14-year-old son left their own home engulfed in flames and used their two-man kayak to rescue their stranded neighbors.
"The water was about chest deep and the embers were raining down from the homes on fire," Lt. Woods said.
Woods was among 66 firefighters and EMTs who received medals for heroic deeds.
Talk to any of the recipients and they'll say it's all in a day's work.
EMT Marilyn Arroyo and her partner Jimmy Guailacela received honors for rescuing three people trapped in a car submerged in water.
It may have well been a holy mission. Inside the car was a nun and an elderly couple named Mary and Joseph.
"When it hit us, it kind of pushed the car down and the car went dead and started to float," the nun explained.
"I grabbed Sister Bradshaw and I took her out," Guailacela said.
"The instinct is to go in and help because that's what I do on a daily basis," Arroyo said.
It's what they all do on a daily basis - extraordinary things.