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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- If you were to count up all the handshakes, smiles and pats on the back that greeted Captain Shannon Ison, it would only add up to a small portion of the story behind what earned him a Silver Star.
The Kentucky National Guardsman was greeted by hundreds and given the nation's third highest military honor for valor Sunday during a ceremony at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville.
Ison told WDRB News he's not really deserving.
"To be honest, I have no idea why I received this. I saw (many fellow soldiers) do many honorable acts over there (more) than I did," Ison said.
But his former commander, Col. Mike Ferguson, says that's just Ison "being humble." Ferguson told reporters a story about how when Ison joined the Kentucky National Guard he was unhappy with his assignment as a staff officer and demanded his own platoon.
Ferguson said he thought Ison was "bold" and gave him the assignment he wanted.
It was in that role as a platoon lieutenant that Ison came to the aid of fellow soldiers who were injured after a vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Ison's commanders say the Lexington firefighter and paramedic left the cover during a firefight and tended to injuries of other soldiers hurt in the 2008 attack.
"He's a hero in my eyes. He's the best to me," said Ison's daughter, Allison.
"I'm really proud. And to me he's the best father in the world. And probably the best soldiers in the world," said Ison's son, Ben.
But the so-called best soldier in the world doesn't even think he deserves the third highest military honor for valor.
"I'm very honored to have received it, didn't really expect it. Thought I was just doing my job. I had the privilege of working with a great many soldiers," Ison said.
His wife Deborah says that's just his personality -- never sharing his daily troubles overseas or the hardships he goes through as a Lexington firefighter.
"We try to just keep each other uplifted," said Deborah Ison. "When he came home I had a lot soldiers come up to me and hug me and tell me that he saved a lot of lives. and that if they have to go back they want to go with Shannon."
Ison said he just did what felt "natural" coming to the aid of people he saw were hurt.