The boxcars featured at the Ray Fagen World War II Museum in Granite Falls were part of an award-winning film aired on Pioneer Public TV. The Appleton-based station is currently building a new facility in Granite Falls, which was funded by the Fagens.

Fagen box car helps Pioneer TV win award

Two World War II-centered documentaries with ties to Granite Falls and Kerkhoven have been awarded Emmy awards issued by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The programs were produced by Pioneer's Dana Conroy with videography and editing by Pioneer's Kristofor Gieske and Ben Dempcy.

This is the fifth year in a row that Pioneer has earned Upper Midwest Emmys for its local programs, totaling to seven Emmy awards.

The two included: Marching Saints: Pearl Harbor won in the highly competitive Historic/Cultural/Nostalgic — Program category. It was presented in front of a sold-out crowd of television professionals from all disciplines of the industry from a five state area, according to Conroy.

This documentary tells the story of how the Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (KMS) marching band created an award-winning routine that earned them participation in the 75th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor held in Honolulu in December 2016.

Sonderzüge: A Box Car Story won in the Documentary — Historical category. Postcards producer Dana Conroy interviewed Ron and Diane Fagen of Granite Falls about the process of acquiring an authentic box car used during World War II to transport victims of the Holocaust and Allied prisoners of war.

Conroy also visited with Chris Wilson, co-owner and senior exhibit designer at Split Rock Studios in St. Paul who designed the artful and realistic setting for the boxcar exhibit at the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum.

The program centers on the life story of Aino Lavoie, a refugee from Estonia who survived the Holocaust and was transported in box cars like the one featured in the exhibit.

Lavoie, 87, is a resident of the Jasper Sunrise Village assisted living facility in Jasper. All of these productions were made possible by the voters of Minnesota thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

A complete version of these two programs, including all seven of Pioneer’s 2017 nominated programs, may be viewed online by visiting

Pioneer Public TV is an award-winning, viewer-supported television station dedicated to sharing local stories of the region with the world.

For more information, or call 1-800-726-3178.

Ben Dempcy and Dana Conroy accepted two Emmy awards from the Upper Midwest Chapter of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on October 7, 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel at the Mall of America in Bloomington. Special photo.

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