Philippe Letrilliart, consul general of France in Miami, came to St. Petersburg to present a French Legion of Honor medal to retired physician Dr. Bill Futch during a ceremony at the Westminster Palms retirement community.
Futch, 96, a St. Petersburg native, was halfway through his last year of medical school at Tulane University during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He was a doctor in the Army and landed at Omaha Beach just after D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Letrilliart has said his country decided about a decade ago to honor U.S. veterans who fought on the French side during World War II. American soldiers led an Allied invasion of France that helped defeat Nazi Germany and ultimately helped to ensure the Allies' victory.
The medal is the highest distinction that can be awarded to a French citizen or a foreigner.
Supporters of Bon Secours St. Petersburg Health System celebrated the organization's 50th anniversary with a fundraising luncheon at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, launching the organization's philanthropy program.
Philanthropy chairman Roger W. Zeh, who also serves on the Bon Secours board of directors, told the 200 guests attending that Bon Secours means "good help" in French.
The 2013 Good Help Awards were presented to Regina Clifton of Bon Secours Ministries; the Most Rev. Robert N. Lynch, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg; and Frank B. Murphy III, board of trustees president of the diocese's Catholic Charities.
Keynote speaker was Paul C. Tash, Times chairman and chief executive officer.