Family of Medina’s lone Medal of Honor recipient will attend Memorial Day events

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2015 at 12:00 am

John E. Butts’ family will present his dog tags to community

John E. Butts

MEDINA – John E. Butts remains a source of pride in the Medina community more than 70 years after his death. Butts is the lone Medal of Honor recipient from Medina.

He sacrificed himself in Normandy in World War II, advancing on the enemy to distract them so his battalion could advance. Butts had already been wounded, but pressed on, leading a platoon.

“Once more he was struck, but by grim determination and sheer courage continued to crawl ahead,” his Medal of Honor citation reads. “When within 10 yards of his objective, he was killed by direct fire. By his superb courage, unflinching valor and inspiring actions, 2LT BUTTS enabled his platoon to take a formidable strong point and contributed greatly to the success of his battalion’s mission.”

Butts was one of five brothers to serve in World War II. He died in Normandy on June 23, 1944. His body came home in 1948 and he is buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Medina.

The American Legion Post and a village park bear his name. There is a display of his medals at the local library. On Monday, following the Memorial Day parade, some of Butts’ family members will present his dog tags to the community during a service at State Street Park.

Several of Butts’ nieces and nephews are getting together for a reunion in Medina this weekend before they present his dog tags on Monday. The relatives are from South Carolina, Ohio, Michigan and California.

They are coming together for the first time since they were kids. The reunion came about after a Dutch television journalist/historian sought more information on Butts for a TV documentary following the 9th Infantry’s campaign from D-Day to WWII’s conclusion. Butts was featured in a segment in the series.

The parade in Medina starts at 11 a.m. at the Olde Pickle Factory on Park Avenue and ends at State Street Park with the ceremony at the park starting at about noon.