By Associated Press - Sunday, July 5, 2015

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A 101-year-old World War II veteran has received long overdue medals honoring his service during the war at a ceremony in northwest Ohio.

Former Army Pvt. Horace Appleby earned the Silver Star for saving the life of a fellow soldier on Jan. 6, 1945, The Blade in Toledo ( ) reported. But he didn’t receive that medal or nine others until this past week when U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur presented them to him in Toledo. The Democratic congresswoman presented the Toledo man with the Silver Star and the Bronze Star among numerous other medals.

Appleby’s great-niece, Renee Hahn, found out about his awards when she started inquiring about his personnel records.

“He’s the family treasure,” said Hahn, of Perrysburg.

Appleby, with a small American flag tucked into the pocket of his shirt, sat quietly during the presentation, grinning as he was presented with his medals.

But he said he had never thought much about them and didn’t know he had been awarded the Bronze Star.

“I did what I had to do,” he said.

The native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., was drafted on July 31, 1941, at the age of 27 years old. He was a member of Company E, 180th Infantry Regiment, which was sent to North Africa and then deployed across Europe.

During one battle, a man next to him in a foxhole was shot dead.

“I was lucky. I didn’t even get a scratch,” Appleby said.

Appleby was awarded the Silver Star for his actions after he and his squad realized they were missing a man after they were encircled by the enemy and pulled back. Appleby went back into enemy fire to find the man and guided him back to safety, according to military documents.

Kaptur said the medal presentation paid tribute to a veteran whose memories and service have given Americans liberty.

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