At Monday's National Rehabilitation Hospital's 20th Anniversary Gala Monday, People magazine said the "World News Tonight" journalist expressed gratitude not only for the prestigious award but also to U.S. troops and medical staff who saved his life in January.
Woodruff had been injured in an explosion of a roadside bomb in Iraq and was kept under sedation until March.
Since then, the journalist has been undergoing cognitive rehabilitation in an attempt to recuperate from severe brain trauma.
Friends of the 45-year-old journalist said his dedication to rehab slowly led Woodruff to recapture his memories and overall cognitive functioning.
"It was like watching a butterfly emerge," Dr. Robin Baker told People magazine. "We have seen Bob's true nature, his character and his spirit."