Doherty receives WWII Jubilee of Liberty medal

A second Maple Lake resident has received the Jubilee of Liberty medal for service in World War II.

Don Paumen received the award from the French government this spring as a reward for American efforts during the Battle of Normandy in 1944. On August 27, Helen Doherty was among 22 veterans presented with the Jubilee of Liberty medal during a ceremony at the VFW Post 8731 in Monticello.

On hand to honor the veterans were Congressman Mark Kennedy, Representative Bruce Anderson, and Colonel Dennis Lord of the Minnesota Army National Guard. In his keynote address, Kennedy called World War II veterans “an inspiration” for those currently seeking to preserve freedom in the face of terrorism.

The Jubilee of Liberty Medal was authorized by the Regional Council of Normandy to pay tribute to the men and women who fought in Normandy to restore freedom to the French people. Originally, these medals were minted by the Monnaie de Paris and were presented only to those veterans who went back to Normandy for the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings. But the medals have now been authorized for presentation to any Normandy veteran who was part of the invasion between June 6, 1944 and August 31, 1944.

Doherty served as an Army nurse with the 104th Evacuation Unit and landed on Omaha Beach on July 12, 1944, staying until Dec. 24, 1944. She said it was nice to be remembered in this way, “But it’s also nice to forget. So many good people died there.”

Doherty was overseas for 22 months, also serving at the Battle of the Bulge. And she has kept in touch with her comrades. “I must call some of my army buddies and tell them about this,” she said of the Jubilee of Liberty medal presentations. “I just think it’s great to receive this, but I think we all should have one.”

Deb Steiskal of Congressman Kennedy’s Buffalo office said the congressman has made it a priority to get the medals into the hands of deserving veterans, hosting six ceremonies this year in various sections of his 28-county congressional district. “As long as we get applications, we will proceed with these events,” Steiskal said. “And we will be sending out applications as long as we get requests.”

Veterans or family members seeking to find out more about the Jubilee of Liberty application process can call Congressman Kennedy’s office at 763-682-6898.

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