DENTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – Tom Pugh, from Denton County, served this country bravely during World War II. His service was rewarded, but it took more than six decades to happen.

And when it did, Pugh got the surprise of his life.

It started as a 237th birthday celebration for the U.S. Marines at a VFW Post in Denton and turned into a celebration for just one marine.

That marine was Thomas Edward Pugh, a marine from WWII.

Pugh, a marine corporal, served four years but never received his medals until now.

There was the Combat Action Ribbon, a Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, The American Campaign Medal, The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with a Bronze Star and the World War II Victory Medal.

He remembers the good and the bad from that Second World War.

“Oh yeah, there’s a lot of bad things. But, I don’t think about that. I think about the good things that happened to me,” Pugh said.

After the war he continued his service working, from 1946 to 1969, for the Dallas Police Department.

“I was working for the police department in Dallas and the Lord spoke to me and I answered his call. And, I pastored churches for 35 years,” Pugh said.

Tom Pugh is 88 now, proving it is never too late to receive recognition for a job well done.

“Boo-rah!!” he said with a hearty laugh.

Pugh doesn’t know why he didn’t receive his medals after WWII.

Some of his fellow marines wanted him to have them though and began the application process for them two years ago.

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