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The 57th anniversary of the day Congress passed the Peace Corps Act was Sept. 22, and thanks to an Eagan, Minn., man's efforts, the anniversary was marked with pomp and circumstance in his hometown of Plainview, Minn. The first Peace Corps marker to be placed in the United States was officially dedicated in Plainview thanks to the efforts of Ken Flies, who back in 1962 was one of the four original Peace Corps members from Plainview, a town that at the time had only 1,400 citizens. Plainview is about a half hour northeast of Rochester.
The marker dedication was followed by a book signing event for Flies’ memoir, Into the Backlands, which was held at the American Legion Hall in Plainview. At the time of the marker’s conception, Flies was encouraged by the Minnesota Historical Society to write a memoir of his experience in the backlands of Brazil in the early days of the Peace Corps. This event marks the public launch of the memoir.
Preview stories about the event were published in the Eagan Sun This Week, Fleis' current hometown newspaper, The Rochester Post Bulletin, KROC-AM in Rochester and the Wabasha County Herald. There was also a story previewing the event on KIMT television, and The St. Paul Pionneer Press and KAAL ABC 6 in Rochester covered the event. The Bemidji Pioneer picked up the Pioneer Press story.