World War II veteran receives honor award

November 5, 2015



Staff Reporter |klb071@latech.edu


The United States and France have a history that brought them together during a severe time of war, which created a lasting friendship.


To commemorate that friendship, a ceremony was held last Wednesday evening to award Robert Hurtig with the French Legion of Honor award for his courageous endeavors as a soldier in World War II.


“I’m really excited that this is all for me, and that my family and friends are here to congratulate me,” Hurtig said.


Hurtig is a veteran who fought on French soil in 1944 and 1945.  He was also a nontraditional Louisiana Tech student for 10 years and acquired up to 90 hours.  The Consul General of France, Gregor Trumel,  presented the Legion of Honor award.


“I am proud to come back to Ruston, on behalf of the French government and its people, to give this award to Mr. Hurtig and it is an honor to pay tribute to him for his help in saving my country,” Trumel said.


Trumel said he is proud to share the Legion of Honor award with American veterans because it is a great way to celebrate the French-American alliance all around the world to fight for democracy, human rights and security.


He also said it is interesting to be back in Ruston to honor Hurtig because he was on campus in January to honor Dr. Dolliann “Dolly’ Hurtig,”who is Robert Hurtig’s daughter.


Dolly Hurtig is a Louisiana Tech associate professor in the School of Literature and Language. She is also one of the French professors and a mentor to Tech’s French Fulbright teachers.


“I’m really proud of my father and think this is a momentous occasion,” Dolly Hurtig said. “Especially since this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often on a college campus.”


Trumel awarded Hurtig with the Palmes Académiques, or Academic Palms, which is the highest ranking award given to a teacher or professor of French involvment in the advancement of the French culture and education.


The Legion of Honor award is the highest French distinction that can be given by the French government, and was created by Napoleon in 1804 to award his bravest soldiers said Trumel.


“Mr. Hurtig is a knight and deserves to be honored,” Trumel said. “Robert and his daughter Dolly are real friends of France.”


After being presented with his award, Hurtig gave his acceptance and thank you speech.


“I thank President Francoise Holland for the honor and Gregor Trumel for giving me the opportunity to receive this award,” Hurtig said. “I’m very touched and thank you from the bottom of my heart.”


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