BEDFORD – Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Franklin/Fulton) will recognize a Korean War prisoner of war by dedicating the Churchview Road bridge over Beaver Creek in South Woodbury Township as the PFC/POW William G. Koontz Memorial Bridge during a ceremony on Friday, Aug. 17. The ceremony will be held at the bridge at 11 a.m.
“Bill Koontz spent 838 grueling days as a prisoner of war, enduring harsh treatment and poor living conditions,” Topper said. “Yet he survived and returned to his family and Bedford County where he carried on his life with dignity.”
Koontz was raised in a small farming community in northern Bedford County. Koontz returned to Pennsylvania following his release in 1953 where he lived out his days in peace, married to his wife, Blanche, for more than 50 years. He returned to what he loved – farming – and bought an orchard and was a local postmaster. He died in 2016.
Topper’s original legislation, House Bill 303, to dedicate the Churchview Road bridge in honor of Koontz, was amended into House Bill 1431
, which was signed by the governor.
“Naming a bridge for Bill is just a small token of appreciation for a man who gave so much to not only his country, but also to his local community,” Topper said. “Many people in the area were touched by Koontz. Ensuring his name is emblazed in this area is extremely fitting.”
The public is encouraged to attend the ceremony. A light lunch will be served at Koontz Church of the Brethren, 4764 Churchview Road, following the ceremony. RSVPs must be made by calling Topper’s office at (814) 623-9097 by Friday, Aug. 10. Attendees should park at the church.
Representative Jesse Topper
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross