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County Honors World War II Veteran William Rapp

 

January 16, 2020

Countywide & Sun/Suzie Campbell

Army Veteran William T. Rapp (left) receives a certificate of appreciation from County Commissioners, Melissa Dennis (ight) and Eddie Stackhouse (center).

World War II Army Veteran William T. Rapp is the first recipient of the Veteran of the Month certificate presented by the Pottawatomie County Board of County Commissioners.

During the meeting held Monday, board chairman and Dist. 1 Commissioner Melissa Dennis said the board wanted to start something different. "We wanted to honor a veteran every month and you (Rapp) are the first one.

"I don't know how I qualified for this," said Rapp. "I'm just a veteran and fought in World War II.

"You got me just in time," said the Army veteran. "I'm going to be 100 in about 77 days." Rapp will celebrate his 100th birthday on April 9.

Rapp and his family moved from Okmulgee to Shawnee when he was 15. He was drafted into the Army during WWII and served with the 397th Armored Field Artillery Battalion and Service Battery.

When they "landed in LaHarve, France, it was completely shot up, he said. " He and "about 45 other guys got all the vehicles for the 10th Armored Division and drove them to a little town.

"I never had driven a tank," said Rapp. "I'll have to admit that I made the roadways in some of those little villages a bit wider."

Rapp said he went through France, Germany, Austria and wound up in Czechoslovakia where they met up with Russians and pulled back.

"We all thought we were going to go to the Pacific," said the veteran. "But the war ended. The president dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese and we were all glad that the war ended."

He said it took about three or four months to get home. "Then I started my little family and here I am."

"You are a friend of county government. You're a friend of this community," said Dennis.

Rapp was co-owner of First State Bank and still owns a oil well business. He was a longtime member of the Excise Board and became a member of the Rotary in 1958. He served as Rotary president from 1987-88.

"We want to thank you for your service," said Dennis. "We admire you and respect everything you have done, not only for this country but for our county as well."

 

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