December 30, 2009
Rossmoor man, 91, receives France's highest military honor for covert service during World War II
Kalan hid in a tree for two days from German patrols, before finding refuge with a French couple. The husband happened to be the head of an underground resistance group.
With the French couple risking their lives to shelter him, he returned their kindness and courage by helping them with their cause: to make life as difficult and dangerous as possible for the German occupiers. Kalan told the Chronicle that harassing the Germans involved tracking German troop movements and going on some bombing missions.
For his efforts, the French consul general in San Francisco came out to Rossmoor Tuesday and in a special ceremony pinned on Kalan's chest the Legion of Honor. Kalan was praised as an "exemplary human being" and the guests at the ceremony also paid tribute to the gentleman in the best French fashion: with champagne.