Kindergarten & Grade 1 Registration (Fall 2018)

To register your child, call or visit your designated HSD school. Learn more...

 

Three veterans from the Steinbach Legion have been awarded the rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour by the President of the Republic of France.

The award, given to Lloyd Lehman, Bennie Klick and John Owczar, is the highest national order of France and came with a letter (seen below) explaining the honour was given due to their courage and devotion during World War II which lead to the liberation of France.

Steinbach Legion President Bill Richards explains the criteria for the award is in-depth and required a three page application to be filled out. The application required a record of their entire WWII military career including any wounds and whether they were a Prisoner Of War, any official decorations already bestowed, post-secondary education, missions and battles in France and abroad, an honourable discharge form and more.

Richards says, along with the previous president, Keith Duncan, they located veterans who may have met the criteria and started the process of filling out the applications and having them sent for approval, noting this award was only available to those still alive and the President of France had to personally approve each award.

"The Knight of the Legion of Honour is a five armed cross with a V-shape cut out at the end of each arm, generally surmounted by a wreath of laurel leaves. There are 600 veterans in Canada who have received this award, as far as I know to date. We are very honoured to have these three in our area. They are all veterans and members of the Royal Canadian Legion here in Steinbach. So I am very proud to make this announcement."

2016 12 french medalMedal received by three honoured veterans (Photo credit: Jeff Bridges)John Owczar was a tank driver during the war and and says he was in France for about three weeks.

"From England we ended up in France, across the channel. There wasn't one building left. With all the tanks, there was no room for the tanks so we had to wait until there was enough room for the tanks. So we went through France and then we parked our tanks there. From there on we battled."

Owczar says there was quite the battle in Calais, France. He notes they kept on fighting and moved into Belguim which was better and then into Holland. "We liberated a lot of places. People were happy, church bells were ringing." He says during the war the Germans would put mines under the cobblestone streets so you couldn't see them.

"I had a lot of close shells. I had one spot where I lost a tank. So I got a new tank and the commander said to me, we're going on patrol now. I tried to start the tank and it wouldn't start. So he took the second tank and about ten minutes later we heard over the radio that the tank had been blown up, the driver killed. Took my place."

Owczar notes he is proud of the award he received and has told his grandson that one day all the medals he received will be his, to keep them in the family.

Lehman was in the infantry corps and tank regiment during WWII. He says it was an honour to have received this recognition and was surprised when the medal was delivered. Lehman was not in France during D-Day, June 4, 1944, but was part of the attack in France on July 25, 1944.

"What impressed me the most," recalls Lehman about the war. "Was when I was asked to go with the officer in command to take their surrender from the Germans."

Lehman's wife Shirley adds he had to unload some of the equipment from the bren gun carrier and drive 100 miles to accept the surrender. Along the way she says there were a lot of German equipment and ammunition.

During his six years in the war Klick was a truck driver with his elder twin brother. Klick's son Jack explains his father started as a home guard in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and his uncle then requested Klick be transferred to join him. Afterwards they were transferred to Nova Scotia where they received further training and were then sent to England, joining the 28th Canadian Armoured Division which was attached to the 4th Canadian Armour Brigade.

"They crossed over to Calais, France from England on the 28 of July. As an amoured brigade they went deep into France and at the Falaise pocket they lost 48 out of their 52 tanks. They regrouped and reequipped and turned back towards Calais, then went north through Belgium and through Holland and then into Germany."

Jack says as a truck driver his father and uncle hauled fuel, supplies and ammunition for the tanks and personnel attached to the tanks. He notes they would drop the load off and bring back the wounded and dead from the front, then start the process over again. He adds this job deeply effected them both forever.

"I was delighted," notes Jack, commenting on the award given to his father from the Republic of France. "The fact that another country would recognize what he had gone through. I was gratified that they would recognize his efforts to that level. I haven't presented it to him yet because when he does receive it, I want it to be very special. It should, hopefully, come from someone representing France. I feel that, that is what he deserves. I want it to be very memorable."

Steinbach Legion President Bill Richards says an official ceremony is being planned in April to recognize the three honoured veterans.

Read More:
Steinbach War Veteran Remembers

2016 01 frenchletterLetter received by each of the three veterans from the Republic of France.

Kindergarten & Grade 1 Registration (Fall 2018)

To register your child, call or visit your designated HSD school. Learn more...

 

More Local News

City Council Wary Of Request From Steinbach Taxi

Representatives from Steinbach Taxi have asked city council to create a bylaw to regulate the vehicle-for-hire business in the city. Company President Paul Jauhal appeared before council Tuesday. He…

Two Vehicle Crash Slows Tuesday Commute

There was a two vehicle collision Tuesday afternoon at the Highway 52 and Industrial Road intersection. Steinbach Assistant Fire Chief Russ Reimer says it appears a southbound vehicle was attempting…

Southeastern Manitoba Festival Is Underway

Performance facilities in Steinbach are alive with the sound of music as the 2018 Southeastern Manitoba Festival is underway. Vocal classes started Monday. Candace Georgijevic is the vice-president…
rcmp41

Suspicious Activity In Kokomo Road Area

RCMP are asking for tips regarding suspicious activity in the area of Kokomo Road in the RM of La Broquerie earlier this month. Police say during the evening of Monday, February 5th and the early…

Sales Down At Steinbach MCC Store

The Board Chair for Steinbach MCC says sales were down slightly last year at their thrift store. The organization held its annual general meeting Thursday evening and Gordon Kornelson reported total…

Hanover Adding Dozens Of Stop Signs

The Reeve of Hanover says as the result of some recent collisions, the municipality has decided to put up stop signs at 14 uncontrolled intersections. Stan Toews says ratepayers have been asking for…

Local Man Carving Local Cheese

A Man from Steinbach took his snow carving skills and applied them to a cheese carving competition on Sunday. Lyle Peters took part in the cheese carving competition at the Festival du Voyageur and…

French Canadian Heritage Celebrated This Weekend In St. Malo

French and Metis culture was celebrated this weekend in St. Malo for the annual Festival of Friends. Shana Berard, President of Friends, says one event they brought back this year was the pow wow on…

Proud To Be Metis

A man who grew up in Otterburne says Louis Riel Day gives him a platform for sharing his pride in being Metis. But Barney Morin spent his youth years not knowing of his ancestry. In fact, he was…

New Artists Make A Splash At 20th Annual Open Judge Art Exhibit

New artists made a big splash at the 20th annual Southeast Open Judged Art Exhibit which was unveiled Friday evening. Alyssa Reimer is the Community Arts Coordinator for the Steinbach Arts Council.…

House Near St. Pierre Is A Total Loss Following Fire

The St. Pierre Fire Department battled for seven hours on Saturday to try and save a burning house but in the end, it was a total loss. Fire Captain Rene Frechette says crews arrived on scene around…

Families Enjoy MHV's First Winter Carnival

Families from the southeast enjoyed a wide range of activities on Saturday at the Mennonite Heritage Village's first winter carnival. Jonathan Kroeker brought his family to the carnival and says it's…

St. Pierre RCMP Confiscate Modified Gun

A prohibited firearm was recovered last Tuesday following a traffic stop near the corner of Highway 59 and PR205 in St. Pierre. RCMP say the gun is a modified .22 caliber rifle and was loaded at the…

Is Generosity In Southeast Linked To Churches?

The Lead Pastor at Steinbach EMC says he is not surprised by Steinbach's ranking as the most generous city in Canada. Statistics Canada this week released data on charitable giving for 2016. That…

SRSS Students Taking Action On Various Human Rights Issues

A group of students from the Steinbach Regional Secondary School are hoping to take a stand and raise awareness for various human rights issues in the coming school year. Staff mentors have been…

Cold Southeast Manitoba Weather Is No Match For Actif Epica Athletes

Approximately 70 runners and cyclists will be going through communities in southeastern Manitoba this Saturday as they take part in the winter ultra-marathon Actif Epica. Organizer Scott Wiebe says…

Spring Is On The Mind Of Many Steinbach Residents

Steinbach residents were already thinking ahead to spring on Friday at the Mayor's Open Door. Chris Goertzen says one resident expressed concerns about tree trimming on street corner lots. "If people…

Louis Riel Day Will Be Quiet For Business

Monday promises to be a quiet day for retail in Steinbach. Ben Dueck, Executive Director for the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce, says Louis Riel Day is a statutory or general holiday in Manitoba. As a…

Chinese New Year Celebrated In The Southeast

Many Chinese citizens in the southeast are celebrating Chinese New Year today. Sue Tat from Grunthal Garden Restaurant says most of the festivities take place on New Year's Eve. "It really depends if…

Bad Luck Or Just Slow Year For Ice Fisherman?

An avid ice fisherman from Niverville says he got into the sport at a very young age and has been something he's enjoyed doing with his family over the years. Bradley Kutzak notes his father…

Steinbachonline.com is Steinbach's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Login