COURAGE AWARD: Man stabbed 20 times by home invaders - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

COURAGE AWARD: Man stabbed 20 times by home invaders

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He was beaten, stabbed, doused with flammable liquids and his house was set on fire, but he lived to tell his story and has now been awarded for the special courage he displayed during that home invasion.

IMAGE WARNING: Viewer discretion is advised for the slideshow above since some images are graphic and may be disturbing to some.

On Wednesday night, the U.S. Department of Justice presented Paul Traub with the Special Courage Award, and it's not hard to see why. He not only lives in the same home where the brutal attack occurred, but he also still cooks with one of the kitchen knives his assailants used to stab him 20 times.

"The first stab was in the side of my head. That actually broke off the tip of the knife, and that's still in my skull," Traub said. "Doctors decided not to operate on it, so that's still there."

When a couple of car thieves broke into Traub's Burnsville home, he was shocked when they refused to settle for anything less than his life.

"They could have come in and said, 'Give us the keys to your car,' and leave, but they decided to go about it a little different," Traub told Fox 9 News.

Traub was stabbed in the back 17 times and left for dead, but his attackers didn't stop there. The two men set eight separate fires, turned the gas stove on, and took the batteries out of the smoke detector.

"When I saw that, I'm thinking, 'Oh God, now they're setting my house on fire,'" Traub recalled. "I managed to get to my feet and I saw one of them in the doorway and he told me, 'Well, you're not going anywhere. You have to get back down on the floor. You're staying in this house.'"

According to Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom, the ordeal was "clearly the most brutal home invasion that's ever occurred" in the history of the county. Despite that, Traub not only saved himself but also walked through flames to alert his neighbors.

"Pretty much the first thing I said is, 'You have to call 9-1-1; the house is on fire. You got to get a fire truck over here, and while you're at it, get the police over -- and you need to get an ambulance for me because I think I need an ambulance,'" Traub remembered.

After his physical injuries healed, he faced his attackers again in court to testify against them. Ultimately, he says he forgave them to help put the whole ordeal behind him.

"I never thought I did anything that extraordinary, but I've had a lot of people tell me differently," Traub said. "So, I'm starting to learn to accept it after the award ceremony last night."

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