Four military service members from Indiana County who served their nation during the past 80 years were honored Tuesday (October 5) with their names placed on four county bridges.
Senator Joe Pittman (R-41) joined Indiana County Sheriff Robert Fyock, Indiana County Commissioner Mike Keith, representatives from the American Legion Clymer Post 222 and State Representative Jim Stuzzi’s office, and families of the four service members for a dedication ceremony held in Lakeview Pavilion at Yellow Creek State Park.
The new names of the four bridges were unveiled Tuesday by PENNDOT as part of one ceremony because of the inability to hold individual dedication ceremonies during the past 20 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All four of the bridges were renamed by Act 102 of 2019, signed into law on November 27, 2019.
The bridge carrying Pennsylvania State Route 553 over Dutch Run in Pine Township, Indiana County, has been designated the Private Chancy Franklin Davis Memorial Bridge.
Born on March 28, 1924, in Alverda, Indiana County, Private Davis enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1942. Following basic training at Parris Island, North Carolina, Davis served in the Pacific Theater during World War II as a member of the 3rd Marine Division. On November 20, 1943, Davis was killed in the Battle of Piva Forks while defending against a Japanese counterattack toward recent American landings at Torakina Bay in the Solomon Islands.
The bridge carrying State Route 403 over Dixon Run in Clymer Borough, Indiana County, has been named the PFC Martin J. Popson Memorial Bridge in honor of Popson, who distinguished himself during his World War II service in the United States Army.
Popson, of Penn Run, Indiana County, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military medal, for extraordinary heroism in action during the liberation of Manila, as well as a Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon.
The bridge carrying U.S. Route 422 over Yellow Creek in Cherryhill Township, Indiana County, has been designated the PFC Ralph E. Dias Memorial Bridge for Dias’ Vietnam service as part of the United States Marine Corps Company D, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force.
Dias, of Shelocta, Indiana County, was killed in combat at the age of 19 in Quang Nam Province. For his service he was awarded the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Badge, the Meritorious Unit Commendation with one Bronze Star, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Commendation with Palm and Frame, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device.
And the Buena Vista Bridge, carrying State Route 56 over Blacklick Creek in East Wheat Township, Indiana County, has been designated the SPC Beverly S. Clark Memorial Bridge.
Clark, a native of Indiana County, joined the Westmoreland County-based 14th Quartermaster Detachment of the U.S. Army Reserves upon graduation from high school. On February 25, 1991, 23-year-old Specialist Clark was killed during a Scud missile attack on the U.S. military barracks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“I’m pleased to be able to work with Rep. Jim Struzzi as we both continue the work of Senator Don White and Rep. Dave Reed, honoring Indiana County residents and their families that have paid such a heavy price in the defense of freedom,” said Senator Pittman.
Contact: Jeremy Dias email@example.com