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French group to visit K-State, Manhattan and Morganville

A renewed relationship dating back to World War II between Morganville, Kansas and Fèves, France will bring 20 residents from Fèves to the K-State’s Manhattan campus, Morganville and Clay Center Sept. 9-10, thanks in large part to a 2013 student project in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Gloria Freeland, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications in the College of Arts & Sciences at Kansas State University, was in Metz, France, this summer to visit with the people of nearby Fèves. About 40 residents, the mayor, Freeland, her husband Art Vaughan and their daughter Katherine Vaughan attended a fund-raising barbecue on June 1. The money raised will help finance the 12-day trip to the United States for the Fèves delegation. They will visit sites on the East Coast before coming to Kansas.

The trip arose from a project in Freeland’s spring 2013 News and Feature Writing class. A team of three students wrote a story about the sister-city relationship between Fèves and Morganville that developed after World War II. Morganville staged a pageant in 1948 and sponsored other activities over the next few years to raise money for food, clothing, seeds and school supplies for the people of Fèves, a small town that had been devastated during the war.

The publication of the 2013 story rekindled the relationship between the two towns. Fèves citizens Gérard and Solange Torlotting and their son Hervé and his family visited Morganville in December 2013. The people of Morganville hosted a reception for them and gifts from the villages were exchanged. Gérard and Solange were children when the aid from Morganville began arriving in Fèves.

“I enjoyed meeting the Torlottings at that warm December reception in Morganville on one of the coldest days of the year. It was a very special and emotional reunion,” said Birgit Wassmuth, director of the A.Q. Miller School. “We are looking forward to growing this relationship into some kind of partnership for a student exchange program.”

Freeland and her family also visited Fèves in May 2014, where they were guests at a reception. They presented gifts from Morganville to Fèves while there.

The delegation will visit the Harley-Davidson factory and National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, tour Manhattan and the K-State campus, visit Morganville and attend a program in their honor at the Clay Center High School.

Gérard and Solange Torlotting will be among those visiting.

“We are really looking forward to bringing this delegation to Morganville,” Gérard Torlotting said. “Everyone is excited to discover their sister city.”

Morganville Mayor Brent Rundell is also looking forward to hosting the group.

“We are looking forward to renewing our acquaintance with those we met in December 2013 and it will be a pleasure to meet new friends among the visitors from Fèves,” he said in a note to the Torlottings. “We are so pleased you have included Morganville in your travel plans.”