A Hollsopple man now has the medals he earned while fighting his way across Europe during World War II.
John Butchko Sr. received his four Bronze Stars, World War II Victory Medal and several other medals for his commitment as an Army corporal in an anti-aircraft unit.
“You better believe it,” the retired lineman from Penelec said when asked if he was proud of his medals. He received them last week.
The Bronze Star is awarded for heroic or meritorious achievement or service in combat not involving aerial flight.
His family bought a plaque for him to display his medals. The plaque has been placed beside another containing his late son’s medals.
John Butchko Jr. was a 21-year-old Marine serving in the Presidential Guard when he was fatally struck by lightning while waiting for President Ford to finish a speech in Philadelphia in 1976.
Butchko, who will be 88 this Christmas, served in the Army from 1943-46.
His wife of 57 years, Rose, said he was supposed to receive his medals soon after the war but never did.
Just a month ago, Butchko was talking about the medals with his brother-in-law, Sam Mazzarese of Hollsopple. Mazzarese just happened to be headed to U.S. Rep. John Murtha’s office in Johnstown on another matter and told the staff that Butchko never received the medals.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Mazzarese said.
“He deserves them.”
Rose Butchko said her husband fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
Butchko and his wife also have a daughter, Julie Kovach of Jennerstown, and five grandchildren.

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