There are slightly less than 400 legislatively named bridges in Pennsylvania.
On Friday, three of those structures were formally dedicated in recognition of local veterans – Cpl. Anthony G. Orlandi Memorial Bridge, Sgt. William Stock Memorial Bridge and Seaman 2nd Class Louis J. Benzie WWII Memorial Bridge.
“As you can tell from the numbers, there’s a remarkable distinction to have a bridge legislatively named, and this honor has only been bestowed upon a few,” said Thomas Prestash, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 9 executive, while pointing out there are more than 25,000 bridges in the commonwealth.
The Orlandi bridge is on a portion of U.S. Route 219 over Route 601 in Conemaugh Township.
“There’s a name now on this bridge, and everyone can ask the question ‘Who?’ – and they can learn why,” state Sen. Pat Stefano said during a ceremony inside the St. Anne Church social hall in Davidsville.
Orlandi was killed in action during the Korean War on Jan. 12, 1952. He earned a Purple Heart and Silver Star.
“While today’s dedication is an honor for Uncle Tony and our family, we patiently wait for the day that his remains are recovered from the DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) and returned home to be buried next to his mother and father in the nearby Holy Cross Cemetery in Jerome,” said Jack Orlandi, Tony Orlandi’s nephew.
Benzie, a Dysart native, died at age 18 on July 11, 1944, when the USS Maddox, a destroyer, was attacked by a German dive bomber and sunk during the invasion of Italy. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
State Rep. Frank Burns supported the effort to name the bridge on Route 53 in Dysart after Benzie.
“It’s gratifying to see that this Cambria County hero will be forever recognized for his selfless and heroic service,” Burns said in a released statement. “We can do no better than to honor those who died so we can remain free and safe. This is a great tribute to a man who fought for our country and whose life was cut too short.”
Stock’s bridge crosses the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in Northern Cambria Borough, along Route 271, also referred to as 24th Street. He died on Aug. 19, 2018, at the age of 64. State Reps. Jim Struzzi and Tommy Sankey supported the effort to name the bridge in Stock’s honor.
“Sgt. Stock served his country in the United States Air Force with the 49th Munitions Maintenance Squadron and returned home to serve his community as a coal miner with both the Barnes and Tucker and Tanoma Mining coal companies,” Struzzi said in a released statement. “In addition to being a tremendous public servant, he is my father-in-law, and I appreciate Rep. Sankey working with me to honor him in this manner.”