Kewanee honored one of its fallen heroes Saturday, 45 years after he died in Vietnam.
With local veterans and National Guard troops taking part, a ceremony was held prior to the unveiling of two street signs showing that the 1000 block of North Vine Street is Honorary Sgt. Martin Rapczak Way.
Sgt. Rapczak, a 1965 Kewanee High School graduate, was killed in Vietnam on May 23, 1968.
He was one of 11 servicemen from Kewanee who were killed in Vietnam.
After color guards from the Kewanee Veterans Council, the National Guard and the Patriot Riders posted the colors and Kewanee High School band members played the national anthem, Mayor Bruce Tossell introduced the main speaker, Father Jerry Rafalko of Holy Trinity Polish National Catholic Church.
Mayor Tossell read the City Council proclamation that designated the street as a memorial to Sgt. Rapczak.
A replica of the actual street sign was presented to Sgt. Rapczak’s mother, Elizabeth
“Luba” Rapczak, and his sister, Denise Loomis, before the unveiling.
Then, after a blessing from Father Jerry and playing of Taps, Rapczak family member John Devine climbed a ladder and pulled the veil from the sign at Vine and 11th streets.
The group then walked down to the south end of the block, where the sign at Vine and 10th was unveiled.
The designation of Vine Street as Sgt. Martin Rapczak Way is the second such street designation in Kewanee.
A block of Willard Street past Wethersfield Schools was designated Sgt. Schuyler Patch Way, following the death in Afghanistan of Sgt. Patch, who was also from Kewanee.