Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Walking bridge to honor fallen soldier

Span from VFW Park to post home to be named for Lucas Frantz

June 20, 2007

A walking bridge will connect VFW Park to the VFW Post Home grounds in Tonganoxie.

And it will be named after a fallen soldier who united a community nearly two years ago.

Larry Meadows, VFW trustee, operated a Caterpillar earlier this month, positioning the bridge across the small drainage area that divides the park and post home grounds, while fellow trustee Art Miller took care of welding duties on the bridge.

Meadows said that the bridge would be named after Army Cpl. Lucas Frantz, a 2002 Tonganoxie High School graduate who was killed Oct. 18, 2005 -- his 22nd birthday -- in Iraq.

Tonganoxie resident Jack Willis purchased the bridge from the Wyandotte County Fair Association and then donated it to the local VFW.

"We had plans for years to have a bridge, and then Jack gave us the opportunity to have one of these," Meadows said.

Eventual plans for the bridge include sandblasting, which Meadows said Doug Shoemaker would conduct on the bridge, and then a paint job.

The VFW also wants to place a plaque on the bridge, similar to one on an archway on the Earl Parsons Memorial Bridge, which is situated across Tonganoxie Creek southwest of VFW Park.

The plaque will bear Lucas Frantz's name.

"When we get it painted, cleaned up and prettied, this will be the Lucas Frantz Bridge," Meadows said.

The walkway will connect the post home grounds to VFW Park just east of the a rock at VFW Park where Lucas and Kelly Frantz had special portraits taken. And, it was the site of Lucas Frantz's memorial service.

The bridge was operational for Saturday's Tonganoxie Days festivities on the VFW campus, but it probably won't be completely refurbished until the fall, Meadows said.

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