Topper Bill to Rename Bridge for POW Approved in House
HARRISBURG – The House approved on Wednesday legislation, House Bill 303, authored by Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Franklin/Fulton) to rename a Bedford County bridge in memory of a Korean War hero and prisoner of war, U.S. Army PFC William Glenn Koontz.

“Bill Koontz was raised in a small farming community in northern Bedford County and answered his county’s call to serve in the U.S. Army. On April 22, 1951, his unit and the entire United Nations forces in present-day South Korea were overwhelmed by the Chinese Army during its spring offensive,” Topper said.

Koontz was captured and spent 838-grueling days as a prisoner of war, enduring harsh treatment. He, along with thousands of other POWs, were forced to sleep like sardines in stuffed, overcrowded huts. They were fed barely enough to stay alive.

“It’s difficult for me to imagine the conditions that Bill and the thousands of other prisoners experienced during their time in captivity,” Topper said. “What I do know is Bill, along with other prisoners, made a great sacrifice for the United States. Bill was fortunate enough to survive the ordeal, but thousands of other prisoners of war did not.”

Bill 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 what he loved – farming. He bought an orchard and was a local postmaster. He died late last year.

As a small token of Topper’s appreciation of Koontz and his sacrifice, his bill would rename the Church View Road bridge over Beaver Creek in South Woodbury Township as the PFC/POW William G. Koontz Memorial Bridge.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Jesse Topper
78th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Greg Gross
717.260.6374 /

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