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Air Guardsman honored with Air Force’s highest honor

It’s the highest medal given by the Air Force for non-combat heroism, and on Saturday, Master...
It’s the highest medal given by the Air Force for non-combat heroism, and on Saturday, Master Sgt. Daniel Keller became a recipient.(Ken Baker)
Updated: Jun. 12, 2021 at 5:11 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s the highest medal given by the Air Force for non-combat heroism, and on Saturday, Master Sgt. Daniel Keller became a recipient.

Back in November 2018, Keller was driving home when he saw the aftermath of a head-on crash involving two vehicles.

Keller said the crash happened on Bardstown Road, adding that he immediately assessed the scene and enlisted bystanders to help direct traffic as he helped those who were hurt. And while doing so, one of them noticed smoke coming from an SUV.

“She got my attention and said, ‘This SUV is on fire and there is a guy in here unconscious,’” Keller said.

Keller was able to break the window of that vehicle and with some help, pulled the man to safety.

“We were able to get him out of the window and then we worked our way south towards the rear of his vehicle,” Keller said.

It was then that Keller noticed what seemed to be like gunshots coming from the burning vehicle.

“Then the second pop I was like, ‘That is definitely a gun,’” Keller said. “I was like, ‘Oh man, I think the person might have had ammunition in his vehicle.’ Which the whole thing is on fire at this point.”

His efforts and leadership following that accident led to him receiving the Airman’s Medal.

Keller called it a bittersweet moment, saying a lot of times in military situations, something horrific has happened which causes others to have to respond, and that response is what leads to honors and medals.

“I am forever grateful, and I hope it reflects well upon our unit and the Kentucky Air Guar,” Keller said. “At the end of the day, I wish none of us were here right now because that means hopefully this would have never happened.”

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