Published: Nov 17, 2010 12:20 AM EST
Updated: Nov 16, 2010 8:34 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - For the first time in more than three decades, a living serviceman is getting the highest military honor, the Medal of Honor. Local veterans gathering for a state event called, "Veterans Connect" commented on the rare ceremony.

Jeremy Gentile served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 12 years. He knows what it takes to get the medal of honor. Only the bravest of the brave receive it and their actions on the battle field often leave them paying the ultimate price.

"That's one of the medals that, when you join the military, you don't ever want to get. And it's not because the honor of the medal, it's what you have to do to get that," he explained.

Jeremy, who now works with the Red Cross, saw Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta's story of bravery on 60 Minutes.

"He didn't even want the medal. He said the guy to the left and to the right of me deserved it... that's an awesome trait," Jeremy recalled.

"To think about winning the Congressional Medal of Honor, no, we think about doing our job. That's the last thing that's on our mind," Lee Sheriff's Deputy, Angelo Vaughn told us about serving.

Vaughn served as a U.S. Marine from 1983 to 1987. For him, seeing a living Medal of Honor winner is proof that America stands behind its men and women serving.

"It sends a message that we have a job to do and we do it. We're not looking for glory, we're not looking for money, just respect," he explained.

And for Jeremy Gentile, Staff Sergeant Giunta's story is more than inspirational, it's motivational.

"It makes me feel better, it makes me feel like I want to go back tomorrow; just hearing that-- it gives you-- it's called Esprit de corps. In the Marine Corps we always say Semper Fi, always faithful, and that's what-- even though he was in the army, he carried that out. He was always faithful and he never left a comrade behind," he said.

The Medal of Honor is the only medal where traditionally, everyone in the military salutes you, regardless of rank, including the president. There are 87 living medal of honor recipients including Giunta. Only one woman has ever received this honor.