The tiny Kansas town of Pilsen is home to just a couple dozen people. But on some days, this Marion County burg has seen its population explode to more than fifteen hundred.
People come from all over the world--mostly on weekends--to visit the museum dedicated to fallen Korean War chaplain Father Emil Kapaun and the church where he served. President Obama posthumously awarded Kapaun the Medal of Honor earlier this year. He has also been nominated to be the first male American and first person from the Midwest to achieve sainthood in the Catholic Church.
Curator Rose Mary Neuwirth says visitors are inspired once they finally get to Pilsen after navigating on roads not designed for that kind of traffic.
"When you have tour buses coming in, school buses coming, caravans of cars coming in, it's quite an ordeal!" Neuwirth says.
The primary concern is traffic coming into town from the south. It's all gravel from Highway 56 north to Pilsen.
"People are getting lost," Neuwirth explains. "They are coming up that road, and if they're not used to driving in farm country where there are trucks out, you cannot see if anybody's coming from behind the truck."
That's because of all the dust. The state has turned down the county's request for help in laying down ten miles of asphalt on the road. County Commissioner Dan Holub says the county doesn't have the money to it on its own.
Holub and Neuwirth fear it's only a matter of time before tragedy strikes, because they expect the number of visitors to keep growing along with Father Kapaun's fame.