Topeka man remembers WWII ‘boys’ who didn’t come home with highway dedication

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)- A Topeka man is remembering more than 30 people who died in World War II with a highway dedication.

When you enter and leave the city of Frankfort, you may have seen the Frankfort Boys World War II Memorial Highway. A 10-mile dedication to the soldiers who didn’t come back to Frankfort after WWII.

Frank Benteman lives in Topeka. He was born and raised in Frankfort, living there until he joined the military fighting in WWII.

While he was fortunate to come back from Germany, he wanted to honor those who didn’t.

“Frankfort had lost more men than any other town in the United States,” Frank said. “A little town of 1,800.”

Starting in 2006, Frank decided to do something for the more than 30 Frankfort men who died while serving. Dedicating a portion of Highway 99 to the Frankfort Boys, he was inspired by another memorial in Topeka.

“And I thought, ‘My God. Maybe I can get something done on that,'” Frank said. “I had no idea how I was going to do it.”

After six years of fighting for the dedication, in 2012 Frankfort Boys Highway was official, standing tall as you drive in and out of Frankfort.

“I spent a lot, a lot of days at the capitol,” Frank said.

“He learned it,” Bruce Benteman said, Frank’s son. “And chronicled it and really led the effort to recognize the Frankfort Boys.”

Frank said while the dedication process was long, it’s the Frankfort Boys memory that was all worth it.

“It was an honor to do it,” Frank said. “I’ve been proud to do it. And I’d do it again.”

So the next time you pass through Frankfort on the Frankfort Boys Highway, Frank wants you to remember the men, and even the women, who put their lives on the line in World War II.

Be sure to join us November 11, to hear more about Frank and the Frankfort Boys Highway. That’s part of our Veterans Voice special at 9:30 p.m. on Fox 43 News.

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