(WLNS) – A veteran from Bath Township was awarded a purple heart in Lansing today after he was hit in the face by a bullet in Afghanistan and stayed on the battlefield.

Army First Lieutenant William Milzarski led two dozen soldiers on almost 350 combat missions in Afghanistan.

Of those missions 43 included engagements with the enemy.

In May of 2011 Milzarski was shot in the face, but continued to lead his soldiers- and kept fighting.

On Thursday he was awarded his Purple Heart in the Capitol rotunda.

“It’s closure is what it is. It was a very minor injury when it happened, and I lost so many men under my command, that to me, the real heroes are the men who didn’t come home,” said First Lt. William Milzarski, Purple Heart recipient.

Milzarski now works for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and says his time in the military helps him continue to serve the people of Michigan.