VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Extraordinary Veteran: A Profile of Kenneth Bull
Growing up in Grand Junction, Colo., Army Sergeant Kenneth Bull got a jump on the military draft. He volunteered in the summer of 1943, joined the 175th Regiment - 29th Division and landed on Omaha Beach on June 7, 1944. He met the enemy head on in the Invasion of Normandy.
"We heard this roar coming our way. I looked up and saw this mass of US Air Force planes, flying wing-tip to wing-tip for as far as you could see. All I could think of was, 'how are those Germans going to survive this…' then I felt relief," said Mr. Bull, reflecting on one of the world's most historical battles.
At 87 years old and six medals later, including a Purple Heart, Kenneth Bull was not expecting any more recognition for his courageous efforts in World War II. But that was not the case. More than 60 years later, the country of France expressed their gratitude to Mr. Bull and five other Veterans with their highest decoration, the Legion of Honour.
Joined by his family and VA staff, Mr. Bull recently attended a small ceremony in the home of the Consul General of France Romain Serman in San Francisco. The Consul told each Veteran's wartime story and addressed each with a formal French salute, while donning them with the medal.
"His daughter came all the way from the United Kingdom to see her father honored and helped to coordinate the paperwork for him to receive the medal," said Louise Bull, wife of Mr. Bull and volunteer in the VA San Jose Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) Program.
Retired to his home in Los Gatos, Mr. Bull and his wife have been active in the ADHC for the last three years, even playing Santa Claus during the holidays. His was the first name that came to mind last summer, when VA recreation therapist Carmel Corr received information about France's efforts to recognize WWII Veterans.
Coordinating with Sharon Richards, Mr. Bull's daughter, the two were able to get all of the paperwork completed for him to receive the medal. "I was so proud!" said Richards.
The Legion of Honour, or in full, the National Order of the Legion of Honour, is a French order established by Napoleon in the early 1800s. The Order is the highest decoration in France and normally reserved for French nationals. Foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it upholds may, however, receive a distinction of the Legion, which is nearly the same thing as membership in the Legion.
The VA San Jose Adult Day Health Care Program exists within the continuum of care under extended care services of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. The program includes nursing care, rehabilitation, social services, therapeutic, socialization activities, and care coordination. The goal is to provide care in the least restrictive environment that is safe, engaging and enjoyable for the Veterans and provides a respite for their caregiver.