CHICAGO (CBS) — They spend most of their time helping to save lives, but when two members of the Chicago Fire Department were diagnosed with cancer, they needed someone to help them. And Tuesday, the man who did so received a big surprise.

Dr. Leo Gordon of Northwestern Memorial Hospital thought he was walking into a meeting. Instead, he entered a room filled with family, fellow doctors and Chicago firefighters, including two who were diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer.

Patrick Jesse and Lt. Michael Shubert both underwent aggressive treatment directed by Dr. Gordon and ultimately defeated the disease.

“Thank you, Dr. Gordon, I appreciate the last six years of additional life you’ve given me,” Jesse said.

Gordon was honored with a City Council resolution. After receiving praise from a number of speakers, he got his chance at the podium; though his words didn’t come easy.

“I am very appreciative of everybody here, thank you,” he said, choking up slightly.

In October, the City Council passed a resolution sponsored by former firefighter, Ald. Nicholas Sposato, to honor Dr. Gordon and Northwestern Memorial for their efforts in cancer research and treatment.