Matt Konop, who was born in Stangelville, lived most of his adult life in Two Rivers, and passed away in 1983, is the central character in a story that unites the Two Rivers area with the City of Domazlice, in the CzechRepublic.
Lt. Col. Konop, who served in the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division in WWII, was selected by that division’s commanding officer, General Walter M. Robertson, to head an advance party of soldiers charged with liberating cities and villages in western Czechoslovakia in April-May 1945, following the defeat of the Germans, based on Konop’s Czech lineage and ability to speak Czech.
It was soon recognized that one of the towns being liberated by Lt. Col. Konop’s forces, Domazlice, was the ancestral home from which his family emigrated in the 1860’s. This caused the local citizens to welcome him, raise him up on their shoulders as a hero, “one of their own” who had returned to liberate their city from the Nazis.
Domazlice was liberated on May 4, 1945, and to this day celebrates that liberation by a company of American G.I.’s, led by Matt Konop.
This amazing bit of history, linking the communities of Two Rivers and Domazlice, has been celebrated over the past decade by Matt Konop’s grandson, Patrick Dewane, whose one-man show “The Accidental Hero” has played to audiences across the U.S. and Europe (www.accidentalhero.net).
During recent visits to Domazlice, that city’s Mayor, Miroslav Mach, has expressed an interest in establishing a sister city relationship or cultural exchange with Two Rivers.
Patrick Dewane has floated the concept of such a relationship with the City of TR and the Two Rivers Historical Society. The idea has won endorsement from both entities, including a resolution of support adopted by our City Council on March 6.
At that meeting, Council President Patrick Gagnon shared some research done by an area resident, who traced over 60 family names from western Czechoslovakia to the Two Rives area. (Yes, in addition to our French Canadians, Germans and Poles, there is a lot of Czech ancestry in TR.)
An initial meeting of a citizens’ steering committee was held on March 16 at the Lester Public Library. The next meeting, also at the library, will be held this Thursday, March 30, at 1:00 PM. Interested parties are welcome to attend.
A delegation of Two Rivers area residents is planning a trip to Domazlice this May, to kick off the exchange and to lay the groundwork for future visits. The group includes former Kurtz’s owner Jim Christensen, who knows that region (and its beers) very well.
For more information, watch the City’s Facebook page or feel free to call the City Manager’s Office.
Welcome, Lisa Kuehn!
Lisa Kuehn joined the City Manager’s Office this week, in the position of Administrative Assistant to the City Manager/Deputy City Clerk.
In this position, Ms. Kuehn is the face and voice of the City Manager’s Office, assisting to the public with service and information requests. She also keeps the office organized (no small task), is in charge of the public meetings calendar and various agendas, and is one of the administrator’s of the TR City Hall facebook page.
As Deputy City Clerk, Lisa will also assist City Clerk Kim Graves with voter registrations and election administration, and is Kim’s backup as Clerk of City Council.
She comes to the position with nine years of municipal government experience with the City of Manitowoc, the past five years with the Office of City Clerk, as an administrative support specialist.
Welcome to TR City Hall, Lisa Kuehn!
Two Rivers City Manager Greg Buckley can be contacted by calling 920-793-5532, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.