ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — In June, a local man was awarded the Carnegie Medal, a recognition given to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree to save the life of another. Darnell Wilson did just that three years ago and on Sunday, a party was hosted in his honor by the woman he saved.

On December 23, 2019, 32-year-old Darnell Wilson risked his life when he came to the rescue of a Rochester business owner during an attempted robbery. Evangela “Van” Stanley owns People’s Choice Kitchen and said Wilson saved her from what could have been a life-altering moment.

“What we’re doing today is celebrating our heroes, especially Darnell Wilson. He’s the young man that intervene and saved my life during an attempt armed robbery,” Stanley said.

Wilson said being recognized on the national level and by Van herself felt “great.”

“It’s really an honor. I’m overwhelmed pretty much. You don’t get this everyday,” Wilson said.

In Wilson’s honor, People’s Choice Kitchen gave back to the community with none other than some free food.

“It’s great to see our community come together. We provide free food. We have ribs on the grill, steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs,” Stanley said, “Anything to help our community, that’s what we’re doing.”

Not only did Stanley make a point to honor Wilson, but she also made sure to include those who she calls her local heroes.

“My sheriff, my RPD, all law enforcement, the fire department, which is every one that risked their lives every day to help us to keep us safe,” Stanley said, “It feels great. I love it. And it’s an overwhelming feeling. I thank God, for my community, I thank God for law enforcement.”

Wilson added that, while he appreciates the recognition, all he did was protect the community he calls home.

“This is our community. Nobody is going to take care of it. We got to take care of it, it’s our responsibility,” Wilson said.

The Carnegie Medal is one of North American’s highest civilian honors. Wilson is one of 16 people who received the recognition this year.