The three women that were held against their will for years -- Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight -- were honored by Ohio Governor John Kasich at the annual courage awards ceremony on Monday night.
Amanda Berry and her six-year old daughter -- fathered by her captor -- escaped from 10 years of captivity in a Cleveland horror house.
Governor Kasich called their story one of unimaginable hurt, but one that goes beyond that during his annual State of the State speech:
"It is also a story of three women who found an inner strength and a courage that brought them through and sustained them. No one rescued them, they rescued themselves -- first by staying strong and by sticking together, and then by literally breaking out into freedom."
The three women were finally freed when Amanda Berry pushed her way through a door of the house they were held in.
Berry -- who was kidnapped when she was only 16-years-old -- gathered the courage to scream for help 10 years later, in May of 2013 and was able to escape, helping DeJesus and Knight to do the same with the help of a neighbor.
In one of the most unbelievable missing persons cases ever solved, the women became household names not only in Ohio, but around the world when word of their harrowing tale became public.
The presentation of the courage award was the highlight of Kasich's speech, as he hugged Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight when he entered the hall. The images went viral almost instantly.
— SensibleOne (@SensibleOne) February 25, 2014
— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) February 25, 2014
Amanda Berry & Gina DeJesus just signed deal with Washington Post writer Mary Jordan to write a book. pic.twitter.com/qn0bHY5Uf1
— Scott Taylor (@ScottTaylor19) October 21, 2013
As he started the awards presentation, Kasich called Berry, DeJesus, and Knight "three extraordinary women, who despite having the worst in this world thrown at them, rose above it and emerged not as victims, but as victors."
They walked onto the stage and received loud cheers that lasted for about two minutes, while they smiled broadly and the occasion marked one of the few reunions the three women have had since being rescued.
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were kidnapped by Ariel Castro while walking the streets in Cleveland between 2002 and 2004 when they were 14, 16, and 20-years-old.
During their captivity they suffered the most horrific abuse as Castro would keep them chained in different rooms of the house or the basement, didn't feed them or allowed them to use the bathroom, he beat them and sexually abused them and fathered Amanda Berry's daughter.
Castro pleaded guilty to hundreds of charges and was sentenced to life in prison, plus and additional 1,000 years for his crimes against Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. He hanged himself in his jail cell on September 3, 2013.
[Image via Cleveland.com/Twitter]