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Rewarded for service to country from Tama paper mill in WWII

Labor Day / Military Convoy Special Report

September 2, 2019
From: Jim Townsend - Special to The News-Herald , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Attached as a pdf of a copy copy of a 1943 letter from the President of Central Fibre Products Company (a.k.a. Tama Paper Mill) to John Kopecky who just left the employment at the Paper Mill to join the World War II war effort. The letter reflects the policy of the Mill to give each former employee who entered the service a check for $25. Twenty five dollars in 1943 would be the equivalent to $372 today.

The Paper Mill, during WWII, played an instrumental role in the war effort. They produced paper board material that was made into match books by a company in Chicago Chicago Match; ammunition boxes; and egg carton fillers used to protect eggs as there were shipped to the troops.

Sherry Benda, John Kopecky's daughter, has the original letter.

Sherry's husband, Dick Benda, also had a father (Wilbert) involved in WWII. Upon returning home to Tama he became the owner of The Benda Tavern. The tavern had a lengthy legacy as the home of the famous "Benda Burgerlocated on Main Street.

The 78th Infantry saw a lot of action in Central Europe during the war. It was inactivated in 1946 as the war came to a close.

Note: The letter was actually signed by a staff person at the Paper Mill. As was the custom then, an assistant would sign letters for the person who dictated it. This letter shows the letter "J" below the signature of H.T. Cherry. The initial J would have belonged to Jean Reed. Jean had a life-long career as Administrative Assistant at the Mill.

Article PDFs

Jim Townsend is a Tama High graduate and owner of the TownsEND Company in Urbandale.



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