The 40th Orphan Train Rider statue in Cloud County was unveiled Friday, October 28th outside the new North Central Kansas Medical Center in Concordia. The bronze statue, created by the Randolph Rose Collection in Yonkers, New York, honors riders Edward and Harold Panzer.
On April 23, 1918, Edward, Harold, Robert and Jack Panzer arrived at the Happy Valley School in Pomona, New York. A year later, their youngest brother, George, joined them after their father's death. In October 1922, all five boys were placed on an orphan train to Tekemah, Nebraska.
Edward Panzer was placed with Lester Lotz, who overworked him and did not allow him to attend school. Eventually, Edward left the Lotz farm and returned to school, studying to become a doctor. After graduating college, he attended a medical school in Lincoln, Nebraska, and finally graduated with his degree in medicine in June 1940. When World War II broke out, Dr. Edward Panzer joined the Navy and served in the Pacific Theatre. After the war, he settled in California where he worked as a doctor.
Harold Panzer was placed with Earl Babbett. The Babbetts gave Harold a wonderful education; he attended Nebraska Wesleyan University and the University of Nebraska. He graduated with his degree in medicine in June 1937. Dr. Harold Panzer set up a practice in Ainsworth, Nebraska, and later built a hospital in Bassett, Nebraska, with his younger brother Jack. Harold also acquired a pilot's license and a small plane. On one occasion, a farmer was seriously injured in a hay baler accident. Harold did what he could for the man at his hospital, and then flew him to Omaha, 250 miles away.
Both Edward and Harold were wonderful examples of courage, fortitude and determination, and served their patients well.
The statue at the North Central Kansas Medical Center is sponsored by the family of Dr. Wayne Fowler, Sr.