SARANAC LAKE - Five Saranac Lake Veterans organizations raised $750 to purchase a bronze Walk of Fame plaque and presented their checks to Mayor Clyde Rabideau Saturday night during their annual combined Christmas party at the Vets' Club on Upper Broadway.
The plaque will honor the late Dr. Rene Joyeuse, a World War II veteran who spied for the U.S. in German-occupied France before D-Day and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower. Joyeuse later became a medical pioneer who helped develop the first artificial heart valve and co-founded the American Trauma Society.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3357, VFW Auxiliary Post 3357, American Legion Post 447, American Legion Auxiliary Post 447 and Sons of the American Legion Post 447 each gave $150 to the village of Saranac Lake's Special Event fund to purchase the plaque.
From left, Mo O’Brien, American Legion Post 447; Harold Mahoney, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3357; Frank Karl, VFW; Theresa Trudell, AL Auxiliary; Cheri Fisher, VFW Auxiliary; Bill Dupree, Sons of the American Legion Post 447; and Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau pose Saturday at the Veterans’ Club, Broadway, Saranac Lake
(Photo — Joseph Fisher)
"All it took was a simple phone call to Cheri Fisher, commander of the VFW Auxiliary, and she called back in a few days saying that all five organizations at the Veterans' Club anted up, and we could go ahead and order the plaque," Rabideau said. "They really came through for us for, as they put it, 'one of (their) own.'"
The veterans and Rabideau plan to officially unveil the plaque, which will be mounted on the Vets' Club building facade, on the coming Memorial Day.
The Joyeuse plaque will be the fourth one unveiled over the last 18 months in the Saranac Lake Walk of Fame, founded to honor Saranac Lakers who achieved national and international renown. The other three honor Olympic gold and silver medalist skier Bill Demong, nationally syndicated cartoonist Garry Trudeau and Dr. Edward L. Trudeau, a famed medical research scientist and physician, and the first mayor of Saranac Lake.
Rabideau says the local veterans have established a viable format for future plaque purchases, since no tax dollars are used for the Walk of Fame project.
"Supporters, friends, family and fans can simply pool their donations, as the vets did, and we will make the purchase," Rabideau said. Patrons can also use their credit cards to donate by using an app on the Walk of Fame's Facebook page.
The remains of Joyeuse, who lived the last 25 years of his life in Saranac Lake, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery this spring. His family was granted special permission to do so by Army Secretary John McHugh, since Joyeuse was a not a U.S. citizen when he served in World War II with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of the CIA.
Joyeuse was born in Switzerland to French parents, and his story was recently covered by Swiss national television and in the Sunday edition of the largest newspaper in Switzerland.
The Saranac Lake Walk of Fame
Although there are only four plaques made up, there are 23 inducted members:
Carl Sofus Lumholtz
Manuel Luis Quezon
Robert Louis Stevenson
Edward L. Trudeau