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AFGS French Canadian Hall of Fame


The American-French Genealogical Society during its 25th anniversary introduced the AFGS French-Canadian Hall of Fame.
The hall of fame recognizes individuals of French-Canadian ancestry who have made significant contributions to their community, or who have achieved success in their life’s endeavors.  Four individuals inducted in the Class of 2007
French-Canadian Hall of Fame Inductions and Special Achievement Awards were Presented During Annual Gala

Class of 2007
Richard and Roger Bouchard - Co-owners WNRI Radion, Woonsocket, Rhode island
Rene L. Dugas, Sr. - Author, Genealogist, Photographer, Taftville, Connecticut
Emile Dubuc - Founder and First President LeFoyer, Pawtucket, Rhode island
Josée Vachon - French-Canadian Singer and Songwriter

Richard Bouchard
 
Roger Buchard
Richard Bouchard
 
Roger Bouchard
Richard and Roger Bouchard
The Bouchard brothers have been entertaining radio listeners throughout southern New England for decades. Together they co-own WNRI Radio, a 2,500 watt facility located in Woonsocket, R.I. and and at 1380 on the AM radio dial.

Richard “Rockin’ Dick” Bouchard was one of the first disc jockeys on WNRI when the station went on the air in 1954. Dick assisted the original station owner, Joseph Britt, in converting an old auto repair shop on Diamond Hill Road into a radio station. That same building still stands today and continues to serve the Blackstone Valley and beyond with quality local programming.

Roger Bouchard, Dick’s younger brother, also had an interest in radio at a young age. When he was 13-years old he would hang around WNRI doing odd jobs around the station and was offered his first paying job at the station in 1960.
While Dick remained affiliated with WNRI, Roger would eventually move across town to WWON, which was then owned by the Woonsocket Call. Roger was an on-air personality and program director at that station for many years.
Both Richard and Roger continue to be involved in many community activities. Roger as a member of the Woonsocket Rotary Club and the Autumnfest Committee. Richard is a reservist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and has assisted at federally declared disasters around the country.
 

Rene L. Dugas, Sr.
Rene L. Dugas, Sr.
Rene L. Dugas, Sr. was born in 1909, the youngest of 14 children. He has lived in Taftville, Conn. his entire life.
Since 1882, he and his father before him were professional photographers. He has a collection of over 3,000 photographs, some over 100 years old. Many of those photos bear witness to the advent and departures of our unique French-Canadian culture.
Like so many other French Canadians, Rene’s father, who was a farmer, left Canada in the late 1870s for work in New England mills. The family settled in Taftville, which was a textile manufacturing center.
The elder Dugas opened a photographic business, yet still worked in the Ponemah Mills. Rene took over his father’s business in 1935. Together he and his father were considered the local historians. In 1990, Rene published The French-Canadians in New England. Thousands of copies have been sold throughout the United States and Canada. He has written many genealogical and historical articles and brochures about the French-Canadian culture and history.
During World War II, Rene was employed as a darkroom technician and photogrpaher at the Columbia University Underwater Sound LaboratoryDivision of War Research, where he received a citation from the U.S. Division of War Research for his work.
In 1947, Rene was elected as a representative to the Connecticut General Assembly, where he served the citizens of the Taftville area for more than a decade.
Rene is a life member of the Knights of Columbus and the American-Canadian Genealogy Association.

EMILE DUBUC
EMILE DUBUC*

In 1935, Emile Dubuc led the effort to form an organization to help the French-Canadian immigrant population in the Pawtucket and Central Falls communities become assimilated into the community. Thus, LeFoyer Franco-Americain was incorporated.

LeFoyer was “constituted for the purpose of uniting Franco-Americans in a group dedicated to the furtherance of the patriotic, social and intellectual development of the entire Franco-American element to conserve their traditions and establish a home where such purposes may be promoted for the common welfare.”
For more than 70 years, LeFoyer has lived up to Emile’s dream and the organization is still active today.
Emile was born in Esmond, R.I. He attended parochial schools in Central Falls and graduated Bryant-Stratton Commercial College in Providence (now Bryant University). He worked in textile mills and hardware stores and became a traveling salesman for a time.
In 1911, Emile opened a hardware store in Pawtucket. He sold it in 1929 to open a bookstore and hobby shop.
Always active in Franco-American affairs, Emile was a director and counselor of L’Union Saint Jean Baptiste d’Amerique and La Federation Francaise. He was particularly proud to have spearheaded the successful fundraising campaign which permitted the construction of Notre Dame de la Consolation Church in Pawtucket.
Emile was married to Emelie Masse of Dayville, Conn. They had five children. He died on September 23, 1954..
*Posthumous

JOSEE VACHON
JOSEE VACHON
Born in Quebec and raised in Maine, Josee Vachon has been sharing her Franco-American upbringing for over 20 years, through traditional and contemporary folksongs from Quebec and Acadia, as well as her own compositions.
Though she often entertained at her family gatherings, she began singing publicly with the support of the Franco-American Center at the University of Maine, where she discovered others who shared a same, rich heritage. She quickly gained recognition as a new Franco-American voice through her first performances at state festivals in Lewiston and Madawaska, Maine and at schools and parish soirées.
Josee Vachon was awarded the 1999 National Culture Through the Arts Award from NY State Association of Foreign Language Teachers for her work in schools and her knowledge and appreciation of foreign languages and cultures. She has served as a Franco-American ambassadrice through musical presentations at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., the Women´s Singing Traditions of New England Tour of 1994, the Congrès Mondial du Conseil International d'Etudes Francophones in Martinique, at l'Institut Francais in Berlin, Germany, tour of New Brunswick, Canada and Festival été indien in St-Etienne, France as well as several times in Quebec at presentations and conferences on la francophonie. Her international television appearances include Champs Elysées on Antenne 2, PARIS as part of the Tour du monde de la francophonie with Radio-France; Le grand échiquier on Antenne 2, PARIS; Les démons du midi on Société Radio-Canada, MONTREAL; and Coup d'oeil on CBC MONCTON, N.B.
From March of 1987 to April of 1998, Josée Vachon hosted over 500 tapings of "Bonjour!", the most widely-seen French-language television show in the U.S., airing on various cable and public television stations throughout the Northeastern U.S. and Canada as well as Louisiana, produced by ACA Assurance and Media One.
In July, 1993 she co-founded the folk group, Chanterelle, The group released its first CD, french in america, in January of 1994 and Soirée chez nous in 1996, offering Franco-American music to a wider audience.
She has 11 solo recordings to her credit so far and continues to perform and record the music that best represents her love of Franco-American culture.

The American-French Genealogical Society, founded in 1978, is a non-profit organization devoted to assisting people of French-Canadian ancestry in the research of their family history.

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Updated 18 October, 2007

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