BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Stories of survival. A gala at the Baltimore Convention Center celebrates heroes in Maryland.

Linh Bui was there for the emotional night.

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Every year, 8,000 plus people are treated at Shock Trauma. This event honors the medical heroes who heal them.

They say happiness is helping others. Well, these men and women spend every day saving lives. The Shock Trauma Center held its annual gala Saturday night to honor 57 EMS personnel and medical heroes.

“I think it’s a special calling. So the annual gala we have here is our opportunity to recognize those people and to thank them for their special service,” said Jeff Rivest, President and CEO, University of Maryland Medical Center.

This year’s theme was “The Architecture of a Hero.” The crowd of nearly 1,600 people listened to compelling stories of people who save lives every day, never expecting they’d need to be saved themselves.

People like Baltimore City firefighter Jeffrey Novak. After rescuing two people from an apartment fire, he became trapped in the burning building. Novak was taken to Shock Trauma. His body was broken and burned.

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Now recovered, he’s back to fighting fires and saving lives.

“The emotional toll when it’s your nurse, your partner, one of the cops, one of the firefighters, one of the EMS people–it really notches up in a significant way,” said Dr. Tom Scalea, Shock Trauma chief physician.

The gala is a way to thank them for their life-saving work.

“To tell them how much we appreciate them, how much they mean to the state and how much they mean to the patients and families,” said Karen Doyle, V.P. of nursing operations, Shock Trauma Center.

These are the faces of Maryland’s heroes.

Funds raised at the gala benefit the Shock Trauma Center and help with expansion.

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Linh Bui