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Local WWII Vet Recognized By French Government

Don Levine was surrounded by friends and family at the ceremony.
Veronica Volk
Don Levine was surrounded by friends and family at the ceremony.

A local World War II veteran was honored at the Brighton Town Hall by the French Government.

Don Levine was 26 years old when he was shipped off to Europe during World War II. As he, and anyone who knows him will tell you, he's got a lot of stories from those days.

"You got about ten hours?"

Levine was a togglier for the Air Force in 1945. He sat in the nose of the plane and dropped bombs.

"I had the best seat in the house."

He flew more than 35 missions in three major battles, including the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.

For his service, he's been awarded the French Legion of Honor Medal.

Credit Veronica Volk / WXXI
Levine was a nose gunner and "togglier" for the Air Force, a portmanteau of the words "toggle" and "bombalier," used to describe the toggle operator in the nose of the bomber.

  Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle says recognition of military veterans is an important tradition, even all these years after the war.

"It's a way of not only thanking Don, but really an opportunity to thank all veterans that have given so much."

The award was presented by a representative from the French Consulate, General Pascal Soares, who says men like Levine changed the course of history.

Levine says, it's a history worth remembering and learning from, which is why he likes to tells his stories to anyone who cares to listen.

Veronica Volk is a senior editor and producer for WXXI News.