IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

The Price of Freedom
Allamakee county POWs - Merchant Marines - WWI Veterans


In a program called “Price of Freedom,” the Allamakee County Veterans Affairs office, in cooperation with Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion officials, recognized prisoners of war and others in a special gathering at the Vets Hall in Waukon Saturday night, September 9, 1989.

Research by the Veterans Affairs office resulted in a list of 18 prisoners of war from World War I through the Korean War. Many of them are deceased, and so relatives or others accepted for them. Kenneth Flage, director of the Veterans Affairs office, noted that the nation's first medal for prisoners of war was struck less than two years ago, and to the best of his knowledge, only three local POWs or their families had sent for them, and so this special night was arranged. Nearly 150 persons attended the ceremony.

In addition to the POWs, former members of the Merchant Marine, only recently accorded “veteran” status, and some 70-year members of the American Legion and recipients of special certificates from the French government for World War I service were recognized.

Special guests were a number of present and former state, district and post officers of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars who helped with the presentation. Included were:

H. Valore Likens, Retired State Legion Service Officer
Robert Payton, State Legion Service Officer
Dowd Brandt, VFW State Commander
Ronald Peterson, Jr., State VFW Junior Vice-Commander
Arthur Phillips, VFW District Commander
Arthur Gratias, District Legion Commander
George Haler, Past District Commander
Carl Johnson, State Senior Vice-Commander
Donald Johnson, VFW Post Commander
Orville Bratrud, Legion Post Commander
John Regan, Jr., District Junior VFW Vice-Commander



Those prisoners of war recognized were: (In alphabetical order)

Donald T. Baxter - North Korea

Died as a prisoner of war in North Korea in 1951.

Photo: Dowd Brandt, right, presenting awards to Charles Baxter, a brother of Donald T. Baxter.

Albert Britt - WWII

Lansing, Iowa, World War II prisoner of war in Europe until May 28, 1945.

Photo: Loretta Zweibohmer pins medal on POW Albert Britt

DuWayne Bulman - WWII

Died in 1974, a prisoner in Germany for 26 months in World War II.

Photo: George Haler presenting award to Dorothy Bulman, DuWayne's widow

Richard Cassidy - WWII

Died in 1984, a German Stalag inmate for seven months in World War II.

Photo: Orville Bratrud, right, presenting to Pat Cota, who accepted for Cassidy's sister, Mary Houlihan of Harpers Ferry.

Marvin Chevalier - WWII

Postville, Iowa, a prisoner in Europe in World War II.

Photo: POW Marvin Chevalier (left) is presented medal by Dowd Brandt.

Charles Doerring - WWII

Died in 1947, liberated in May 1945 after being a German prisoner for over a year.

Photo: Carl Johnson presenting to Mrs. Victor Sebastian, a sister of Charles Doerring.

Merrild Fortune - WWII

Harpers Ferry, Iowa. Taken prisoner in North Africa in February 1943, and held until April 1945 in Germany.

Photo: Merrild Fortune

LeRoy Gass - WWII

West Union, Iowa, a prisoner of war for 27 months until freed by the Russians in World War II.

Photo: Julie Johnson pins medal on POW LeRoy Gass

Glenn A. Hagen - WWI

Died in 1978, a prisoner of war in World War I.

Photo: H. Valore Likens presenting Glenn Hagen's award to Cora Palmer.

John Kappmeyer - WWII

Harpers Ferry, Iowa, a World War II prisoner in Germany for 19 months.

Clement Keenan - WWII

Died in 1972, he was a prisoner of the Japanese in the Phillippines for three years.

Jack Messler - WWII

Postville, Iowa, captured in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

Photo: Jack Messler

Lynn Morrow - WWII

Waukon, Iowa, World War II prisoner for a month in the spring of 1945 in Germany.

Photo: Lynn Morrow POW (left), accepts medal from H. Valore Likens.

Donald Olloff - WWII

Died as a World War II prisoner of war in the Phillippines in 1942.

Photo: Robert Payton presenting award to Donald Brooks, nephew, and Evelyn Colsh, cousin of Donald Olloff.

Dale Reeder - North Korea

Waukon, Iowa, a prisoner for 34 months of the North Koreans in the Korean War

Photo: Robert Payton presents medal to POW Dale Reeder

John Ryan - Korean War

Guttenberg, Iowa, a prisoner in the Korean War from December 1950 to August 1953.

Photo: POW John Ryan being presented medal from Ron Peterson.

Ivan Schultz - WWII

Died in 1988, a prisoner in Europe for nearly two years in World War II.

Cletus Unterberger - WWII

Died in 1982, a prisoner in four German camps for more than two years in World War II.


French Certificates of Appreciation for World War I service

Photo: Several 70-year members of the American Legion also were recognized with French Certificates of Appreciation for World War I service. Robert Payton made the presentations, with those receiving, left to right: George Haler for Walter Siegele, Frank Hager for Ludvig Larson, and Carma Myers for Eilert Ellefson. Other WWI vets who fought in France included Erwin Dickman, Harold Leslie Leas, and Selmer Sorenson.

Selmer Sorenson - WWI

Photo: Selmer Sorenson was present to receive his French Certificate of Appreciation and 70-year American Legion membership award from H. Valore Likens. His son Ordell Sorenson was with him.


Merchant Marines

Photo: Former members of the Merchant Marine included, left to right: Alton Olson, Clement Zeimet, and Donald Kermeen. Also recognized but not present were Jack F. Duffy and Boyd Groezinger.

Long after World War service, the members of the Merchant Marine, recently, were granted status as veterans.


In Appreciation

Photo: Northern Engraving received a plaque for its policy of hiring veterans and the handicapped. Accepting the plaque was George Smrcina, manager, left, from Robert Roffman.


~All photos & text are from the Waukon Republican-Standard, September 19, 1989
~Contributed by Connie Ellis


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