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Vet awarded Purple Heart after 70 years

By Bre Clark
Published On: Jul 07 2014 07:55:48 PM CDT

After almost 70 years, a World War II veteran's family was honored with a Purple Heart.

ST. ANTHONY, Idaho -

After almost 70 years, a World War II veteran's family was honored with a Purple Heart Monday.

Staff Sgt. Don Mace enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1939 and was taken captive by the Japanese military in 1942. During that time, Mace was forced to work in various prisoner of war camps where he worked the coal mines. He suffered two broken legs, a broken back and ribs.

His camp was liberated in 1945. Mace died in 1986, but was survived by his wife and six children. His only daughter, Teri Mace, accepted the Bronze Star for his achievements in battle. His oldest son, Quin Mace, accepted the Purple Heart for the wounds he received during hostile action. Quin said although his father is more than deserving of these medals, he said his father never thought of himself as a hero.

"He probably wouldn't like this ceremony going on in his behalf," said Quinn. "He didn't feel like he did anything extra or out of the ordinary. He just did what he had to do."

Representatives from the Idaho National Guard presented the award. ING Public Affairs Officer Col. Tim Marsano said delayed honors are common for those who served in WWI and WWII.

"Sometimes the paperwork just gets lost, or at the end of a conflict paperwork isn't put in." said Marsano. "This family pursued it and realized their loved one was well deserving of this honor."

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