May 17, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
In late 1949 a displaced family from Poland arrived here to live and work on the McVay farm south of Junction City on Highway 77. Those were the first DP’s or Displaced Persons to arrive in Junction City. The family consisted of Gregory Targonski, experienced as an agriculture worker, his wife Helena, their 16 year old son, Zigmund and an eight year old daughter by the name of Sophie. Another daughter, Maria, who was eighteen was in Colby, Kansas, but was to join the family later. A married daughter was in Austria, but her husband had immigrated to Canada and she was going to join him there.
The family was brought to this country under the Displaced Persons program with the arrangements being handled by the Catholic Church. Working locally with the church was Harold A. Roher. It was the Rohers who met the family when they arrived by train. The family’s interpreter was the 16 year old son, who spoke German as well as some English. The Rohers also spoke German and with the son assisting, the conversation between the McVays and their new tenant family went well. On their way to Kansas the Targonski family stopped in Chicago and was greeted by a friend of Mrs. Targonski’s who had come to this country several years earlier. The family was greatly impressed with the vast open spaces in Kansas. In fact the 16 year old son exclaimed, “We like Mr. McVay’s air much better than the air in Chicago.”
Many of us would say the same, except when there is the burning of the fields in our area.