Paul de Waard was wounded five months ago while attempting to help a woman being attacked on a busy street in Australia's second largest city.
But as he received a bravery medal Monday, the backpacker said he is confident he will recover enough to resume his travels, his work and even his hobbies of snow-boarding and surfing.
"My plan is to do more traveling because it was such a good time in the year before the shooting," he said. "I hope to get back surfing and the work I love in the hospitality industry."
De Waard and an Australian lawyer Brendan Keilar rushed to the assistance of Kaera Douglas as a man beat her on a busy Melbourne street June 18. The attacker responded by pulling a gun and opening fire, killing Keilar and wounding both Douglas and De Waard.
Christopher Wayne Hudson, a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, has been charged with murder and attempted murder.
De Waard, who is still undergoing treatment for his injuries, received a silver medal for his actions from the Dutch branch of the Carnegie Hero Fund, a Pittsburgh-based philanthropy group that awards medals and cash grants to people who perform heroic acts.
"He had a choice and he chose to act and place another life in front of his own," said Australia's Ambassador to the Netherlands Stephen Brady. "That is what he is being recognized for here today."
Koos Schouwenaar, the mayor of the Waard's hometown of Middelburg, in the southern Netherlands, said he had to talk De Waard into accepting the medal.
"He is very modest. He does not want to be a hero," he said. "Still I told him 'you have to , you must accept the medal because you are a hero for us and for many others."'
De Waard suffered nerve damage in the shooting that has hampered his ability to walk, but he said doctors remain confident he will make a full recovery.
"I do expect to walk properly and surf and snowboard and do all the things I love," he said.