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Four citizens receive Medal of Honor Society award

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Before a packed auditorium, on the 150th anniversary of the Medal of Honor, four civilians joined the ranks of America's bravest.

(Courtesy The Medal of Honor Society)

The Medal of Honor Society recognized citizens who display incredible bravery and courage with the Citizen Service Before Self Honors, the civilian equivalent of the Medal of Honor.

Every year, three nominees are chosen as winners. This is the ceremony's sixth year.

Jesse Shaffer III and Jesse Shaffer IV helped save more than 120 residents when Hurricane Isaac struck their Louisiana town.

"We never expected anything. It was just a spur of the moment thing that we had to do," said Jesse Shaffer III.

It's a sentiment shared by the award's youngest recipient ever, Marcos Urgarte. At 15, Urgarte climbed to the window of a burning home in order to save an 8-year-old boy.

Urgarte said, "Even to be nominated is an honor, and to be a winner of an award is an honor and to be the youngest. I'm pretty sure there will be younger people to do amazing acts."

Ugarte was one of three children nominated for the award.

Medal of Honor Society President Hal Fritz sifted through the stories and says each was more gut-wrenching than the last.

"Their stories are equality valorous , equally show service, but it's very, very difficult," Fritz said. "...so you have to get it down to those three."

Also recognized was Monsignor Joe Carroll, who works to improve the lives of the homeless in Southern California.

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