Remembering Ripon's Fallen Heroes:

The Men Behind the Street Names

Ripon boasts streets that bear the names of individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. For many residents, these street names may be familiar markers of their daily commute, yet the history and significance behind them remain lesser-known. Let's take a moment to honor the brave men memorialized by these streets and the profound impact they had on Ripon's community.

The legacy of honoring fallen soldiers began with Clinton McCausland, who tragically lost his life in November 1918 during World War I while serving with the U.S. Army. In his memory, the American Legion Post 190 was named, ensuring his sacrifice would never be forgotten.

During World War II, Ripon mourned the loss of sixteen more of its sons. These courageous men served valiantly with the U.S. Army, Marines, and Navy, each leaving behind a legacy of bravery. Among them were Raymond C. Clifton, William "Billy" Haller, Radomir "Rad" Kolak, Oscar "Auke" Poelstra, and others, who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

The Korean Conflict claimed the life of Arthur Devere Freshour Jr. in 1951, further deepening Ripon's connection to the nation's history of service and sacrifice.

As the Vietnam War unfolded, Ripon once again mourned the loss of two more of its own: Gary Leon Van Tol and George Coutrakis, who served with honor and courage in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, respectively.

The names of these brave men live on through the streets of Ripon, a poignant reminder of their sacrifice and the enduring spirit of patriotism within our community. Paul Madsen, James Harding Haller, Lyman J. Fulton, Viggo Verne Peterson, John Van Andel, John Camps, Henry Bouma Jr., Wayne M. Coe, John Kenneth Smit, Harmon H. Tornga, Carl Peterson, and others may have left this world too soon, but their legacy continues to inspire generations.

Next time you walk or drive down these streets, take a moment to reflect on the lives of these heroes and the profound impact they had on Ripon and the nation as a whole. Their names may adorn street signs, but their courage, sacrifice, and commitment to freedom will forever echo in the hearts of all who call Ripon home.