A World War II veteran from western Michigan has received his medals for service, nearly 71 years after he was honorably discharged.

The Kalamazoo Gazette (http://bit.ly/1PPVzPB ) reports that 89-year-old John Butler of Portage was presented the medals Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton during a gathering with family and friends. The medals include a Purple Heart.

Butler was 16 when he joined the Navy in 1944. He was a radar operator on the USS Kidd when the ship was attacked on April 11, 1945. Upton noted Butler lost his right eye and was hospitalized for several months.

Butler says he's "really appreciative" of Upton's office help to get the medals.

Upton said, "I'm sorry to say it took 70 years... we're thinking of you as a hero."

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Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo