SARANAC LAKE - A television news crew from the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation was here Tuesday to gather footage for a story about a Swiss-born man who won top honors for valor in World War II, lived in Saranac Lake for the last 25 years of his life and will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
The Washington-based crew of reporter Tomas Miglierina and freelance cameraman Markus Zeffler interviewed Suzanne Joyeuse, the widow of the late Dr. Rene Joyeuse, and village Mayor Clyde Rabideau, who's written about Joyeuse's life in the Enterprise. The footage they gathered will be part of a two- to three-minute story about Joyeuse, Miglierina said.
"Our interest is that it's a Swiss story, as Rene Joyeuse was born in Switzerland, and as far as we know it's the first time a Swiss man is going to be buried in Arlington," Miglierina told the Enterprise.
Cameraman Markus Zeffler, left, films as Tomas Miglierina of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation interviews Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau outside the Harrietstown Town Hall Tuesday as part of a news story the TV crew is doing on the late Dr. Rene Joyeuse of Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
During World War II, Joyeuse worked with the French resistance for the United States Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency. He parachuted behind German lines before D-Day with orders to gather crucial intelligence about German military installations, supply depots and troop movements so the allies could bombard them before the invasion.
Joyeuse was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second in magnitude only to the Congressional Medal of Honor in the United States, for his heroism. France gave him its highest military honor, the Legion D'Honneur-Chevalier.
Joyeuse, a noted surgeon, lived in Saranac Lake for the last 25 years of his life, working for the state prison system until he retired. When he died June 12 at the age of 92, his family hoped he could be buried at Arlington. They were initially turned down because Joyeuse was not an American citizen during World War II.
The family, along with Rabideau and U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, then lobbied the Department of the Army and were recently notified by Army Secretary John McHugh, who had been Owens' predecessor as a North Country congressman, that Joyeuse's remains could be buried at Arlington. McHugh cited Joyeuse's "extraordinary heroism, lifetime scientific contributions and civilian service in support of the U.S. military."
Miglierina and Zeffler spent several hours at the Joyeuse home on Tuesday, interviewing Suzanne Joyeuse and gathering footage of her house and old pictures of the Joyeuse family.
"She told us about what her late husband did in the war and how important it was for her family that he her husband gets a place in Arlington," Miglierina said. "She mentioned the efforts of the mayor, the elected officials and the community here. She gratefully acknowledged all the support."
Later in the day, the Swiss TV crew interviewed Rabideau in front of the Harrietstown Town Hall.
Miglierina said he and Zeffler also plan to gather footage in Arlington, including an interview with a local historian, for the story. They planned to return to Washington today.
The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, funded by the nation's government, broadcasts in the three main languages spoken in Switzerland: French, German and Italian. Miglierina reports in Italian and said he and the corporation's French and German U.S. reporters often pool their efforts.
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or email@example.com.