A Heroic Heart: Resident receives highest French military honor

[Updated: October 24, 2023 | Published: July 3, 2019]

Family members, friends and peers often express their gratitude for the valiant, brave-hearted efforts of veterans.  

For resident Wendell Ellenwood, his dedication to our nation’s military was recently recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C .

On Thursday, June 6, Ellenwood received the Croix de Guerre, or Cross of War, symbolizing his acts of heroism in World War II. This prestigious award is the highest military honor awarded in France, with a nomination required for one to be considered.

“I was very surprised,” said Ellenwood. “It’s a prestigious award and I still have no idea who nominated me, but it couldn’t have been nicer.”

The ceremony took place at The Residence of the French Ambassador, with Ellenwood and his family being the guests of honor. Military pride remains close to the family as his grandson, who currently serves in the United States military, was also in attendance. 

For Ellenwood, the ceremony was heartwarming, but being surrounded by family was the icing on the cake. 

“After the ceremony, we had lunch at a seafood restaurant and then celebrated at my son’s D.C. home by the swimming pool,” said Ellenwood with a smile. “We were all just interested in being together.”

As a World War II veteran, Ellenwood served under General George S. Patton, traveling through numerous European countries such as France, Germany, Luxembourg and Austria. Ellenwood was also involved in the Battle of the Bulge, a major turning point in World War II. 

“I did what I was told to do,” said Ellenwood when thanked for his service to our nation. “It’s what anyone else would have done if they were in the same position.”

An Ohio native, former director at The Ohio State University’s Ohio Union for 25 years and a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, Ellenwood has deep roots in the community. As a seven and a half year member of Friendship Village of Dublin, he has loved getting to know other Ohio State grads and fellow veterans. 

“The community has published nice books with veterans names and what they did, so that’s made it easy to get to know everybody,” said Ellenwood. 

Ellenwood’s accomplishments were also celebrated in late June at Friendship Village of Dublin with a special reception highlighting his award and service. This event was arranged and hosted by two friends and fellow residents, Rod Harrison and John Hagley. 

All in all, Ellenwood is thankful for the many people who’ve congratulated him, citing his fellow residents as faithful supporters. 

“The people at Friendship Village of Dublin have been so kind about me receiving this award,” said Ellenwood. “Everyone here is so pleasant.”

Are you looking for a community that lets you thrive in retirement? Friendship Village of Dublin offers a unique retirement experience that brings together social connection, high-end amenities and holistic LifeCare services – all for a steady rate, regardless if your needs or circumstances change as you age. If you’re interested in learning more about our community, schedule a visit.

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