This week marks the final installment of our serialization of Monsignor Arthur Tonne’s book, “The Story of Chaplain Kapaun: Patriot Priest of the Korean Conflict.” It has been eye-opening for me personally. Of course, I knew the basic story of Kapaun’s life and death, but I didn’t realize the depth of his compassion until I read Tonne’s book week after week. His self-sacrifice to benefit his fellow soldiers and prisoners of war went incredibly beyond the call of duty.
The Chaplain Kapaun Legacy Fund, which began in April with a $1,000 donation from the newspaper, has grown impressively, I’m told by volunteer Rose Mary Neuwirth. The fund was created to support improvements to the museum in memory of Kapaun at the St. John Nepomucene rectory. Neuwirth said there has been a groundswell of interest in Kapaun since his recognition with the Medal of Honor, and people want to donate to something concrete. Donations to the fund can be made at Tampa State Bank in Marion or Tampa.
I can vouch for Neuwirth’s claim that there is plenty of interest in Kapaun. Since we began serializing Tonne’s book in April, we have had many people come to the office seeking back issues because they missed an installment or two. Neuwirth said there was a run on the books at the museum after the serial began, but it recently received a fresh shipment.
The series was intended to fuel interest in Kapaun and spur donations to the museum. On both counts, it seems to have been a smashing success. Special thanks go to Didde Publishing of Emporia, which gave permission to publish the serial of Tonne’s book. Copies of the book may be purchased for $22 (paperback) or $32 (hardback) by writing to Tonne Books, 205 E. 6th Ave., Emporia, KS 66801, calling (620) 342-7505, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
— ADAM STEWART