Bridges to be named for fallen Guardsmen

Bridges to be named for fallen Guardsmen

Posted: Monday, July 7, 2008 9:00 pm

Two bridges along State Route 840 in Middle Tennessee will be dedicated Friday to two soldiers of the Tennessee Army National Guard who lost their lives in Iraq. Simultaneous dedication ceremonies at each location will begin at 1 p.m. State legislators earlier named State Route 840 the Tennessee National Guard Parkway “to honor Guard soldiers and airmen for their contributions in preserving America’s freedoms in the war on terrorism.” In September 2007, 15 bridges and overpasses along the route were dedicated to National Guard soldiers who died while deployed. Bridge locations for the Friday dedications are: • State Route 840 at Abiff Road near Dickson. This bridge is being named for Sgt. Dustin D. Laird, 23-year-old soldier from Martin. He was killed Aug. 1, 2006, near Rawah, Iraq, when an Improvised Explosive Device exploded near his vehicle. Laird was a crane operator with the Tennessee National Guard 913th Engineer Co., 46th Engineer Combat Battalion. He was remembered as a courageous and often comedic individual who raised the morale within his unit. He graduated in 2001 from Westview High School in Martin and was deployed with his Union City-based unit in September 2005. Students in Caroline Cole-man’s fourth-grade class at Ridgemont Elementary School had been writing to Laird while he was deployed and received a special visit from him when he returned to the area to attend his brother’s graduation from Westview High School. The son of Linda Lutz of Union City and Billy Laird of Martin, he was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Badge and the Army Good Conduct Medal. • State Route 840 at Franklin Road in Wilson County. It is being dedicated to Staff Sgt. Stephen R. Maddies, 41-year-old soldier from Elizabethton. Maddies died July 31, 2007, of wounds received from enemy small arms fire in Baghdad. A reception for the families will be held at 11 a.m. at National Guard Headquarters on Sidco Drive in Nashville. The public is invited to the dedication ceremonies and unveiling of the memorial signs at each bridge location beginning at 1 p.m. Motorists should expect temporary, one-lane closures near the two bridges on Friday. The closures will begin at 12:30 p.m. and drivers are encouraged to use caution when traveling through these areas. Published in The Messenger 7.7.08

Leave a Comment