GLENSFALLS-Fourteen months ago, teenager Ashley LaPoint had her face smashed against the floor and had been stabbed several times by a career criminal.
Under the threat of impending death, she had the foresight and presence to tell the attacker the crime could be portrayed to police as a burglary, with the man pretending to be one of the victims - after asking him to let her live to get through high school.
This savvy response, under extreme duress, saved her and her mother's life, law enforcement officers have said.
The two victims of the Jan. 2010 attack in Lake George, Ashley and Debra LaPoint, were presented with the annual Courage Award Monday during a ceremonial breakfast at the Queensbury Hotel in observance of Crime Victims' Week.
The attacker, Christopher J. Daniels, was convicted last summer of Attempted Murder and Assault, and is serving a 52-54 year prison sentence.
The LaPoints were honored at the Monday event, along with police officers, Warren County Public Works employees and several others.
Event emcee Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan praised Ashley for her courage during the attack, and her resilience and strength during Daniels' trial.
"This young woman had the intelligence and ability to advocate for her survival that just amazes me," Hogan said.
Her mother Debra dabbed tears from her eyes as Hogan talked about her daughter's courage.
Ashley accepted the award, but modestly deferred credit to Warren County Patrol Officer Erik Mazzeo. He had responded to the incident, assessed what had actually happened, and held Daniels at gunpoint until help arrived, while getting the LaPoints to safety.
Debra LaPoint looked at her daughter, garbed in a prom dress monday for the occasion.
"Thank the lord I still have my daughter and best friend - that she's still alive," she said, choking back tears.
Mazzeo was presented with an award for his response to the incident, his decisive actions in quickly assessing the crime scene, and protecting the victim's lives.
Also awarded were county sheriff's sergeants Ralph Bartlett and Greg Riley, who were both shot when trying to apprehend a man who had attempted to break into a house in Warrensburg by shooting through a door, attempting to get inside where a former girlfriend lived.
Riley's bulletproof vest saved his life in a standoff in Lake George, and Bartlett was shot in the abdomen. The attacker, Patrick Penders, was killed in the shootout.
Hogan praised their handling of the incident, noting Bartlett and Riley were "cool, calm and strategic," and their response prevented further loss of life to innocent people.
Also honored were state Police Investigator Warren Law and Troopers Joseph Jerzak and Randy McKeever for their role in their work in the case of Peter Goldblatt, who struck and killed two foreign camp employees in a drunken-driving crash last summer on Golf Course Road in Warrensburg.
"These officers were there 100 percent, and they have enormous heart, filled with compassion," Hogan said, noting the officers worked long hours on their own time to aid the investigation and prepare for trial.
Warren County Superintendent of Public Works Jeff Tennyson, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Hajos and DPW engineer Edward Doughney were also honored for their assistance in the Goldblatt case. They helped create a compelling video that re-created the crime and helped convince the jury of Goldblatt's guilt in the case. Goldblatt was convicted of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide after a trial.
Tennyson, Doughney and Hajos also helped with providing evidence.
At the event, Tennyson deferred credit to DPW employees, for their routine road maintenance and their strict record-keeping, which aided the prosecution.
Also, the staff of the District Attorney's office of Berkshire County Mass. were awarded for their effective, successful prosecution of Catholic priest Gary Mercure for sexual assault of two boys he knew through a Queensbury church. Hogan also praised the victims in this case for their courage in stepping forward and reporting the crimes committed.
Also awarded for their work on behalf of crime victims were Hudson Falls Police Detective Scott Gillis, Glens Falls Police Officer Daniel Habshi, Hudson Falls High School guidance counselor Barbara Scott, and Deborah Myers, of Washington County Adult Protective Services.
The Charles R. Wood Foundation was also honored for its $100,000 donation to the Warren-Washington Counties Care Center.