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WWII veteran Jim Clermont (right) of rural Garfield was among a group of U.S. vets recently honored by the French government. During his time in France he said he was impressed by the number of people who came up to him on the streets and thanked him for his service, especially these two children, who stopped to thank them and shake their hands. (Contributed)

‘trip of a lifetime’

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Today, Jim Clermont, 89, lives a quiet life on a lake in rural Garfield, but 70 years ago, he saw ships blow up and sink, witnessed endless enemy fire and watched the horizon turn red from battle and rockets as bombs hit nearby.

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Amy Chaffins
Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper. After graduating from St. Cloud State University, Amy’s first job was at KSAX-TV working as an anchor and reporter. From 2003-2010, Amy worked as an editor and reporter for the Pope County Tribune and Starbuck Times newspapers. During her journalism career, Amy earned writing and photography awards from the Associated Press, Minnesota Newspaper Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Amy and her husband, Brandon, live in Alexandria and together write “He Sez, She Sez,” a humor column in the local women’s magazine, Chicz
(320) 763-1242
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