CORAL SPRINGS (CBS4) – John Siple is 82 years old and depends on a walker to get around, but the Coral Springs resident is officially a hero.

Better late than never, the Korean War veteran was presented with several medals for his service 58 years ago.

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The medals were presented by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) during a town hall meeting in Margate.

“I want to share with everyone the true embodiment of the sacrifice you made to our country,” Deutch told the crowd.

Siple served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, including the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, where U.S. soldiers took heavy casualties from attacking Chinese and North Korean troops.

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Siple was in a foxhole with fellow U.S. troops when he came face to face with enemy soldiers.

“I was lucky they were bad shots,” says Siple, who was shot in the arm during the battle. Despite his injuries, he was able to kill his attackers and protect his fellow soldiers.

Siple qualified for the Purple Heart and other honors but never got them. He says it was due to a records mix-up. Over the years, it looked like cutting through government red tape would be impossible until Congressman Deutch helped out.

Siple says he’s just happy he made it back alive from war and often thinks about those who didn’t.

“I was fortunate,” he says. “I came through it because the man upstairs didn’t want me at that time. It wasn’t my time.”

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Siple says that he never thought about medals after leaving the military, but now that he has them he is beaming with pride.

Eliott Rodriguez