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Whitehorse Veteran Presented With France's Highest Decorative Honour

Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor General Benoit Puga (Left) presenting Retired Lance Corporal Joseph Novak (Right) with the medal. Photo by John Kennedy

The National Order of the Legion of Honour was presented to Retired Lance Corporal Joseph Novak, who stormed Juno Beach in 1944.

A retired Whitehorse World War II Veteran has been presented with France's highest honour and most prestigious decoration.

Lance Corporal Joseph Novak, who stormed Juno Beach in 1944 and helped liberate France, was presented with the Chevalier Medal from The National Order of the Legion of Honour.

Novak spoke to the audience that gathered at the Whitehorse Legion on Wednesday Morning, telling those in attendance that he was not the person who should be solely awarded this medal.

"The certificate confirming this award will hang in my room forever and a day. One thing; I will not accept the medal as the owner of the medal. The medal belongs to all of those who participated in the liberations."

Novak is one of two remaining World War II veterans in Whitehorse and served for the Canadian Army Service Corps during the war.

Whitehorse Legion Branch 2-5-4 2nd Vice President and Service Officer Terry Grabowski says this award is not easy to attain and to have Novak inducted as a Knight of the order is a prestigious honour.

"I'm just so honoured to have played a small role in nominating him for the award. Having this come to be and for him to be accepted as a Knight in the order, it's a massive honour."

The Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor flew in from France to present Novak with the honour.

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