SPOKANE, Wash. -

Medal of Honor recipient SSG Ty Carter returned home to Spokane Thursday for a special assembly held at North Central High School.

Carter received the nation's highest military honor for his bravery during a deadly firefight in Afghanistan. Several men in his unit died but many lived because of what he did.

But long before he ran through heavy gunfire to deliver ammunition to other men his unit during that firefight, he walked the halls of North Central as a student, track athlete and football player. He wasn't always the most popular kid in school and that's an important part of the message he shared at the school Thursday.

"We are all very capable of doing wonderful and great things," Carter said.

When the President of the United States puts the Medal of Honor around your neck your life changes forever, but Carter said he isn't special, and that's what he told students today

"Even a student who has troubled times, because I was troubled as a kid, that is why I chose to go into the services because I wanted to change and I wanted to put my life in a better direction," Carter said.

It's safe to say that he did just that. He enlisted in the Marines out of high school, was later honorably discharged and eventually joined the Army. He recounted the moment in a firefight in Afghanistan that changed his life and saved others.

"I wasn't thinking about medals or awards, I was thinking that if I didn't do what I was doing or if I didn't accomplish this job than somebody would die," he said.

Colonel Brian Newberry, commander of Fairchild Air Force Base, was among the hundreds that came to see carter speak

"Sergeant Carter exemplifies that with this Medal of hHnor but we are here to say thank you for what you do to make our country so strong," Newberry said.

Easily the happiest face in the crowd at the assembly was Carter's mother.

"Oh I am the first one to stand and I am the first one to whistle. It's pretty cool," Paula Lynn Carter said.

As part of the assembly Thursday, Carter was honored with a special display at North Central, a standing ovation, and a very hearty thank you.