Bill Sutton traveled a long way to say "thank you" at the Monday, July 25, Delaware City Council meeting.

Bill Sutton traveled a long way to say "thank you" at the Monday, July 25, Delaware City Council meeting.

Sutton, a lawyer who practices in the Philadelphia area, visited the meeting to publicly thank Delaware police officer Jake Hartman for his assistance after a traffic accident June 19, 2010, near Wilmington, Del.

Hartman was in the area to attend a family member's wedding.

He was the first person to go to Sutton's aid after an auto struck Sutton's motorcycle, throwing him to the side of the road. His left leg was amputated below the knee and a collapsed lung hindered his breathing.

"When I came to after the accident, my impulse was to pull off my helmet. Officer Hartman calmed me down and explained that was important to keep it on," Sutton said.

In doing so, he likely saved Sutton from paralysis because, unknown to either, Sutton's neck was broken.

Hartman stayed with Sutton until a medical helicopter arrived to take him to a hospital.

At one point, uncertain if he was going to live, Sutton asked Hartman to tell his wife he loved her.

"You're going to be able to tell her yourself," Hartman said.

The next day, Hartman sent a card to Sutton's hospital room. That was when Sutton realized that Hartman was from Delaware, where Sutton had attendedOhio Wesleyan University from 1969-1973.

"Seven operations and three hospitalizations and a lot of mending later, I've come to tell you about this good man," Sutton said of Hartman.

The trip was Sutton's first back to Delaware since his graduation.

Hartman and Sutton corresponded following the accident and Sutton decided to visit the city to honor the man who was there for him in his hour of need.

"(Hartman's) own (police) chief, Russ Martin, knew nothing about this story until I called him a few months ago," Sutton said.

Hartman "didn't do this for a pat on the back and certainly not for any kind of personal gain, but because he decided it was the right thing to do," Martin said.

Sutton presented Hartman with a plaque and donated $1,000 to the charity of Hartman's choice.

Hartman chose Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, because a family friend has a child with the disease.

"The people of Delaware, Ohio, are fortunate to have someone like officer Hartman looking out for them, and I say from the bottom of my heart, thank you for helping me that day," Sutton said.

Martin commended Hartman's service for the police department as well.

"Less than a month ago, (Hartman) most likely prevented a sexual assault in one of our public parks," Martin said. "He's not about receiving accolades. He is a genuine community servant."