Each year thousands of veterans apply to receive France’s highest military award, the Legion of Honor Medal, but only a few hundred are deemed worthy to receive it. In a ceremony Friday at the French Consulate, WWII veteran, Jim Butz from Schaumburg, became one of those few.
After a year-long application process that was initiated by one of Butz’ sons, the 88-year-old war hero was finally given the historic medal. France’s Napoleon Bonaparte created the award in 1804 to honor outstanding service to the country. As part of the 75th infantry division, Butz, then just 20-years-old, fought in the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944. He was personally responsible for taking out a group of Germans who were holding a building in a Belgian town. Butz also helped liberate the French city of Colmer in Alsace during one of the deadliest battles of the war in January 1945. More than 60 years later, Butz’ family & friends say he is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
Butz has already received several awards from the United States including two Bronze Stars.