Damar Hamlin joined Good Morning America and host Michael Strahan in his first official interview since his on-field collapse in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2. Hamlin got real on Buffalo Bills’ assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington, who he says saved his life on the field.

“I owe Denny my life, literally,” Hamlin told Strahan. “He loves to say he was just doing his job, which is true, that night he was literally the savior of my life, administering CPR on me. He would say he was just doing his job, but if it wasn’t for someone showing up that day with a clear mind and whatever was going on in their personal life, just to put it aside, just to be present in the moment to actually be able to do the job correctly, that’s something I’m truly grateful for and I don’t take for granted.”

The first responders who saved Hamlin’s life were recognized with a video tribute at the NFL Honors on Thursday night, before being invited onto the stage. That included Denny Kellington, who earned appreciation at the event and received a fifth-place vote for the NFL’s MVP award.

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“My entire life, I felt like God was using me to give others hope,” Hamlin said from the stage at the Phoenix Convention Center. “I have a long journey ahead, a journey full of unknowns and a journey full of milestones, but it’s a lot easier to face your fears when you know your purpose.”

It was a heartwarming moment for Hamlin, Kellington and the entire University of Cincinnati Medical Center staff who treated the Bills’ safety in the days and weeks after the incident.

Hamlin received the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award on Wednesday, just over a month after he went into cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati.

“Every day I’m amazed that my experiences could encourage so many others across the country and even across the world — encourage to pray, encourage to spread love and encourage to keep fighting no matter the circumstances,” Damar Hamlin said.