France honors Westport man for WWII bravery

Bob Loomis, 90, received the French Legion of Honor for his heroism at Utah Beach on D-Day and later at the Battle of the Bulge.

Bob Loomis, 90, received the French Legion of Honor for his heroism at Utah Beach on D-Day and later at the Battle of the Bulge. (6/17/15)

NORWALK - The French government honored a Westport resident Wednesday for his bravery during World War II.

Bob Loomis, 90, received the French Legion of Honor, the country's highest honor.

Loomis' grandson, John Buddenhagen, recalls how the then-19-year-old saved his unit when a grenade was tossed into their foxhole. Buddenhagen says his grandfather picked it up and threw it, only for it to explode nearby seconds later.

The Loomis family patriarch lost nearly all of his hearing after the incident.

At the time, Loomis earned the Silver Star and other medals for additional acts of bravery.

The French consul to Connecticut presented Loomis with the Legion of Honor for his heroism at Utah Beach on D-Day and later at the Battle of the Bulge.

The French Legion of Honor was conceived by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to recognize anyone who helped forge equality in France. With the medal comes the privilege of using the title "knight."

Loomis was born in France, and moved back to Connecticut before being drafted. After the war, he settled in Westport, became a graphic artist and then went to nursing school and worked as an EMT at Norwalk Hospital for 25 years.

Loomis and his wife will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary this Friday.

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