World War ll veteran honored in Manhattan
By Jolee Sallee,2023-05-30
Genevieve Bowman-Teninenko says her uncle, Jacob Droge Jr., was an honorable man in every sense of the word.
“He was limited because of his injuries,” said Genevieve.
But even so…
“He did everything he possibly could to help people,” said Genevieve. “He has three purple hearts.”
Jacob Droge Jr. lived in the Manhattan/Amsterdam area and joined the military in July of 1942.
“He was a light-duty truck driver, an ambulance driver, and a chauffeur for two years,” said Genevieve.
He then entered the European theatre and served on a ship that was bombed off the coast of Italy in 1944.
“He was severely burned and had a terrible head injury,” said Genevieve.
And from March 1944 to January 1945, Droge was kept in a British hospital until he was honorably discharged.
Genevieve says her uncle returned home and lived a long life farming until he passed in 2002.
His name can be seen in Manhattan on the World War ll monument boulder, but over time heroes like Droge seem to slip away from local memories.
“There’s a lot of history that’s never told about a lot of famous people,” said Albrecht. “In their minds, they aren’t famous but their actions are.”
With the help of Albrecht and other folks with the American Legion in Manhattan, Droge’s story will live on for years to come.
“We all talked about it and said, ‘This is just something that we’ve gotta do’,” said Albrecht.
The American Legion put together a shadow box filled with Droge’s belongings from World War ll.
It was presented to Droge’s family on May, 29.
Around 60 of Droge’s family members traveled from out of state to join Genevieve in honoring Droge.
“It’s amazing,” they said. “We never thought it would be this big of an event.”
Folks in Manhattan filled the American Legion to also pay their respect to Droge and his honorable service.
The shadow box will be put on display at the Manhattan Museum.
Genevieve says that means the world to her.
“Ya know—it’s special to me,” said Genevieve.