AMERICANS are hospitable people, as Mr Frank John Underwood, 50 Kings Road, Rushden, discovered when he visited his daughter in New Jersey and was made an honorary citizen of the town of Clark.
It was in 1943 that he finished service as a volunteer fireman in Rushden. He had first volunteered in 1920.
At about this time, his daughter, Joyce, met a USAF serviceman, whom she later married, and went to the United States.
To find out why Mr. Underwood was made an honorary citizen on his first visit to the USA at the age of 71, we must go back to the war years.
Now, briefly, the course of events brings us forward from the war to 13 years ago, when Mr Underwood was visited by his daughter, at Rushden. Then the seeds were sown for Mr Underwood to fly to America to visit his daughter, now Mrs Joyce Krakovsky. This he did, with two more daughters, in August.
Mr. Underwood explained that while he was with his daughter in Linden, New Jersey, her husband introduced him to a friend, and auxiliary fireman of the town of Clark.
Their mutual interest in the fire service led from visiting the fire station to looking round the rest of the town’s municipal buildings, which are all in one block.
He gathered that this friend of his daughter’s husband was stationed in Rushden during the war.
The Mayor of Clark, Mr. William Maguire, decided to make Mr. Underwood an honorary citizen and he was given the key to the town.
"I can now visit any of the meetings in the town," said Mr Underwood. The two daughters who went with him to America are Mrs. Josie Griffiths and Mrs. Jean McLellan, both of whom live in Rushden.