Jindal awards 265 veterans from Ascension with LA Veterans Honor Medal

Staff Report
Gov. Bobby Jindal gave out Honor Medals to veterans at the Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal ceremony held at the Gonzales Civic Center on Jan. 10. Rayferd Brignac was one of the veterans being honored for his dedication and service to his country.

Governor Bobby Jindal Thursday awarded 265 veterans from Ascension Parish with the Louisiana Veterans’ Honor Medal at the Gonzales Civic Center. Governor Jindal was joined by Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs  Secretary Lane Carson and Major General Bennett C. Landreneau, Adjutant General of the Louisiana National Guard, to award the state’s veterans with a special medal in honor of their service in the Armed Forces.

Jindal said, “The veterans we are honoring today are the true heroes of our time. These men and women continually put themselves in harms way to protect the freedoms and liberties we hold so dear. These medals represent our deep appreciation for their lives of service and sacrifice.”

Jindal signed legislation in 2008 to create the Veterans’ Honor Medal Program in order to recognize and honor all of Louisiana’s veterans. The program is managed by the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. The Veterans’ Honor Medal is gold-plated and comes with a blue ribbon. One side shows the state of Louisiana with “United States” embossed above and “Armed Forces” below.

The other side bears the words, “Louisiana appreciates your service to our country.” Veterans who sustained a wound in battle will receive an honor medal designated by a silver star and a purple ribbon.  Families of veterans who were killed in action will receive an honor medal designated by a gold star and a gold ribbon.

While awarding the medals, Governor Jindal told stories of medal recipients to highlight the heroic acts of Louisiana’s veterans.

Sergeant Roy J. Brignac was born on August 8, 1921 in French Settlement, LA. Growing up, Brignac heard stories of his father serving in World War I. Wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps, he joined the Army in 1942 to serve his country in World War II. His brother, Maurice, joined at the same time. While Roy was stationed in England, Maurice was stationed in France.

On September 12, 1944, Brignac’s unit was assigned the task of observing enemy artillery cannons and tank fires. Brignac’s tank commander gave him orders to travel by motorcycle and quickly observe enemy artillery cannons and tank fire in order to ensure that it was safe for his men to proceed forward on their mission. While on the motorcycle, an artillery shell exploded and hit him. The blast peppered Brignac’s upper body with artillery fragments and he later died from the injuries he sustained that day.

The family was notified via telegram of Brignac’s death, and shortly after, his brother Raferd decided to join the military to follow in his brother’s footsteps. He was sent to Europe to fight until the end of World War II. Raferd’s son also went on to serve in the Air Force during Vietnam.

At the event, Raferd accepted a medal from the Governor in honor of his brother, Roy, his own medal for service in World War II, and a medal for his brother Maurice.

State Representative Mert Smiley, Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux, Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Adjutant General Bennett Landreneau oversaw the medal ceremony. Numerous parish veterans received medals for their service to their country.