Jacques Chambon Honored As Knight in the Order of Merit
Jacques Chambon, Normandy Allies Leader, Honored As Knight in the Order of Merit
Departmental delegate of the Society of Rescue at Sea (SNSM), Jacques Chambon (shown on left in photo) was elevated to the rank of Knight in the Order of Merit, a high national honor for those who have worked on behalf of others and of the French nation.
Admiral François Celerier reminisced, “It is difficult to believe that a child of Beaujolais would go and make a career at sea. At the age of 19, he sailed around the globe. He became an officer of the bridge for 10 years in the Merchant Marine. He sailed on Liberty ships and great freighters.”
Jacques continued his career by training crews for the French navy at Dakar. Then he worked for 20 years in Paris. In 1991, he retired to Grandcamp-Maisy. But the sea had not finished with him. Approached by the SNSM, he headed the training center for rescuers at sea in Caen. For 16 years he held the office of departmental representative.
It was with emotion that Jacques Chambon received the cross of the National Order of Merit from Admiral Celerier, who related several remarkable episodes of a career always connected to the merchant marine and to the maritime world, and praising the passion, goodwill and perseverance which Jacques Chambon demonstrated all through his career.
“How could a man who came from the capital of Beaujolais become a sailor and finally establish himself in Calvados? As for most of us, it’s your spouse who attracted you here to our beautiful Normandy” joked the Admiral. “For your passion and your spirit, which never weakened in spite of difficulties, for the inestimable service, which you rendered to rescue at sea, and further to all your fellow citizens for the example you gave, and for the generosity you demonstrated in your simple and unselfish commitment, the Cross of the Chevalier de L’Ordre National du Merite is awarded to you.”
Very moved, Jacques Chambon shared this honor with his wife Jeannette: “During many years she endured my absences and all the waiting with great courage.” The mayor, Serge Bigot, then pinned the medal of the commune on Jacques Chambon, who also holds the position of deputy mayor. Representative Jean-Marc Lefranc also emphasized his commitment to the training of rescuers. “Since your departure, the Merchant Marine is perhaps no longer the same today. It may take years of work to restore the French Merchant Marine.”
Jacques Chambon has been the Treasurer of Normandy Allies France, working untiringly since 1997 to develop the network of host families who each year welcome American students to Normandy and providing invaluable assistance to the team members as the program develops and progresses. Each group of Normandy Allies’ participants has benefited from his organizational skills, the warm welcome provided by Jacques and Jeannette Chambon, and their commitment to honoring the memory of the Allied soldiers.
(Story and photo from Ouest-France, January 25, 2011)
Originally published in Amitié, the newsletter of Normandy Allies.
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