By Bob Roberts

(CBS) — The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Tuesday night presented an award for courage to two women who survived being beaten with a baseball bat and left for dead by a thief in Bucktown five years ago.

From the moment of the 2010 attack, Stacy Jurich has shown uncommon strength. Although critically injured, she flagged down a car, called 911, tended to gravely injured best friend Natasha McShane and gave key information to police before losing consciousness. She testified at trial against the bat-wielding attacker, Heriberto Viramontes, who was sentenced to 90 years in prison.

In accepting the award, Jurich said she has hoped that she is an example to other crime victims.

“It’s hard to face the person that tied to kill you, but you should do it, because you’re saving lives going forward, making sure they’re not there anymore,” Jurich said as she began to cry.

The head of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office Victim Witness Assistance Unit, Lori Smith, read a letter from McShane’s mother, Sheila McShane.

Natasha McShane, who had been pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was left unable to walk, speak, eat, write or perform the simplest of tasks. Five years later, her mother said, recovery continues to be a struggle, but she said that Natasha faces rehabilitation “bravely,” can walk for short distances and is learning to perform many simple tasks, such as opening doors or making herself tea.

McShane remained at home in Northern Ireland and was unable to accept the award in person, but this week shared some good news with Jurich, who said the two remain best friends. The newly-engaged Jurich asked McShane to be her maid of honor, when they are married in Ireland in September.

“She was very, very excited about it and is looking forward for us to get all dolled up and have a wonderful time,” Jurich said.

The State’s Attorney’s office also bestowed an advocacy award on Emily Carrell, who was sexually assaulted while working as a counselor in 2008. She has since become a Schaumburg police officer.

An award for service was given to Kevin Doyle, founder and president of a foundation that has worked with victims’ families. The foundation is named after his mother Sheilah, who was murdered during a 1983 robbery.

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