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Sign points the way to Kapaun Museum in Pilsen

Staff writer

Hundreds and thousands of people who make their way to Pilsen every year to honor and learn about Chaplain Emil Kapaun will have an easier time finding the place after the installation of a colorful, prominent sign at US-56 and K-256.

The two-sided sign was unveiled Tuesday by five Korean War veterans on the 66th anniversary of Kapaun’s death in a North Korean prisoner-of-war camp. The veterans were led by former Marion resident, Bob Reinke.

The Korean War Veterans Association provided $1,000 to make the sign possible. It sits on land owned by Alvin and Barbara Kroupa.

Rose Mary Neuwirth and Harriet Bina helped design it, Alvin Kroupa contributed the pipe posts, Ken Stuchlik built the frame, and William Kroupa and sons contributed welding services.

St. John Nepomucene Knights of Columbus installed the sign.

Father John Hotze of the Wichita diocese was on hand to lead guests in dedicating the sign and giving it his blessing.

Those in attendance included Laverne and Harriet Bina, Robert and Rose Mary Neuwirth, Carole Sklenar, Father Darrin May, Ken Stuchlik, Melissa Stuchlik and son Quentin, Alvin and Barbara Kroupa, and Arnie Kroupa.

After Father Hotze gave the blessing, everyone recited the Father Kapaun prayer before retiring to the church for lunch.

“We’ve wanted a sign for a long time,” Harriet Bina said. “Thanks to the Korean War veterans, it has become a reality.”

She said plans were in the works to build a new visitors center at Pilsen. As more and more people learn about Kapaun’s courageous service as a POW chaplain, they are coming from all over the world to see his home church and visit the museum. Efforts are underway for his canonization.

Last modified May 24, 2017

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