DENVER -- This story is about reunion that was 14 years in the making.
"I've been waiting for this day for 14 years," Thompson said.
He's a tough police officer most days -- but he was a nervous wreck while waiting for Trystan Sanchez to arrive at Denver International Airport Friday night.
"This is the first time I've met him since he was three years old, and I can't wait to meet him," Thompson said.
The image of the little boy has been etched in his memory for half of his police career. He was finally going to be reunited with the young man he never forgot.
Tragic circumstances first brought the two together on a rainy night in July 2000 in Greenwood Village. Trystan, just a young boy, was home with his 23-year-old mother, Patricia Green.
She was stabbed to death right in front of Trystan during a violent rage.
When Sgt. Thompson arrived on scene, he grabbed the little boy and pulled him out of the room, then helped arrest the killer. It was an experience that created the kind of bond you can never break.
"Last time I saw him he was a 3-year-old boy that was on top of a bunk bed as I straddled a suspect."
The Sergeant kept a picture of Trystan on his desk for a decade -- and he always wondered if he would hear from the boy again.
He finally did, in an email Trystan wrote last year, on what would've been his mother's birthday.
"'Hey I'm Trystan Sanchez, I don't know if you remember me, but I was the little boy you saved the night my mother was murdered.' I received that email on my personal phone, and my wife Robin and I sat on my stairway and cried together because the day had finally come."
Sgt. Thompson received a medal of valor for his heroics that day. In a ceremony Sunday, he gave that award to the person he considers the real hero. "This is a shadow box, with literally my entire career in it. That's the medal of valor I received as a result of that evil night, that's the badge I wore," he said.
The officer may have saved Trystan's life. "I thank you for this. It really means a lot," the young man said.
But it was Trystan who changed Sgt. Thompson's life forever. "When darkness and difficulty came into my 31-year career as a police officer, I often thought of Trystan and hopefully the good that I did that night."
Trystan and Sgt. Thompson have been texting for the last few months leading up to the face-to-face reunion and they plan to stay in touch.
Trystan lives in Seattle with his dad, and he hopes to become a police officer.
Medal of Valor
Police Perception in America
Sgt. Tracy Thompson
Emotional Police Reunions
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