NYPD Det. Kevin Brennan, a shooting survivor dubbed the "miracle cop" by his doctors, smiled and looked a bit uncomfortable as a room full of fellow officers cheered.
Brennan, shot point-blank in the head in January, was one of 38 cops honored Thursday for their heroism as the "finest of the finest."
The event hosted by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association was held at the Bridgewaters restaurant in Manhattan. Most of the honorees were involved in a spate of recent shootouts with suspects.
So far this year, seven NYPD cops have been wounded -- more than half of them from Long Island.
"We spent a month literally running from hospital to hospital," PBA trustee Pat Hendry told the crowd.
Brennan, 28, of Garden City Park, wearing a suit and tie and looking surprisingly fit, received a plaque.
Responding to a 911 call of shots fired on Jan. 31, the six-year veteran was shot with a .38-caliber handgun behind his right ear during a struggle with Luis Ortiz, 21, in Brooklyn, police say. Ortiz was arrested and charged with attempted murder.
Brennan, who spent 10 days in the hospital, said he still struggles with weekly migraines, a feeling of pins and needles in his hands, and a strange vibration down his spine when he turns his head a certain way.
He has been enduring grueling physical therapy up to five days a week, but said being home with his wife, Janet, and infant daughter, Maeve, made it bearable.
"I can be in any pain and being with her makes the pain go away," he said of his only child.
Once he's fully recovered, he intends to return to duty as a newly minted detective.
For now, he said, smiling, "I prefer doing something quiet -- inside an office."
Another honoree was Officer John Zamot, 34, of the Northern Queens anti-crime unit, who lives in Franklin Square. In January, Zamot and his partner chased a man who police said tried to steal a car from an 88-year-old World War II veteran.
They stopped the suspect with a nonfatal shot after he pulled a gun, police said. It turned out to be a pellet gun.
Zamot blamed the lingering effects of the recession for the surge in violence.
"The economy is low, people are losing their jobs and individuals are resorting to crime as a quick fix," he said.
"It makes the job more dangerous for us, because these people are willing to sacrifice one of us to support their habits or their needs."