A bill to rename part of K-99 highway the “Frankfort Boys World War II Memorial Highway” passed the Kansas Senate Wednesday and is now awaiting the Governor Sam Brownback’s signature.
The moment was a special one for Frank Benteman, 85, who has worked the last six-and-one-half years to win recognition for the 37 Frankfort servicemen killed in World War II.
Benteman said Frankfort suffered more men killed in action than any other town its size.
The designate portion of the highway runs from the southern city limits of Frankfort north to its intersection with U.S. 36 of Marysville, a distance of approximately 10 miles.
American Legion Post No. 181, Frankfort, has raised $2,200 of the $3,000 required to build and maintain a sign denoting the highway’s designation, according to American Legion commander, Bob Roeder. Roeder added that he is very confident about obtaining the remaining $800.
Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Sen. Mark Taddiken, a Clifton Republican whose district includes Frankfort, told legislators about Paul Paden, one of the 37. Paden was a prisoner of war killed aboard a Japanese merchant ship that was torpedoed and subsequently sunk. A National Guardsman, he had survived the Bataan Death March, and had been held for two-and-one-half years before his death.
Taddiken also discussed the military careers of two other Frankfort servicemen: Robert Emmingham and Carl O. Nord.
Emmingham, a U.S. Navy sailor, was aboard a submarine that disappeared while photographing the beaches of Okinawa.
Nord, a physician, was killed on an Italian beachhead on May 15, 1944.