A measure signed into law last week renames five Indiana County bridges, according to Sen. Joe Pittman, R-Indiana.
Act 102 of 2019 was amended to rename several roads and bridges across the state, including the five local bridges.
“As part of the legislative process the bill was amended to include the language of four bills introduced by former Sen. Don White and one that I introduced,” said Pittman.
“I am pleased that the bill was signed into law and I will now work with Penn-DOT to ensure that the signs will soon be put in place to provide a lasting tribute to these individuals.”
The bills amended into Act 102 include:
• Senate Bill 227, introduced by White, which renames the Route 56 bridge over the Conemaugh River as the Specialist Beverly S. Clark Memorial Bridge.
Spc. Clark, a native of Indiana County, joined the Westmoreland County-based 14th Quartermaster Detachment of the Army Reserves upon graduation from high school.
On Feb. 25, 1991, Clark, 23, was killed during a Scud missile attack on the United States military barracks at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
• Senate Bill 228, introduced by White, which renames the Route 553 bridge over Dutch Run in Pine Township as the Private Chancy Franklin Davis Memorial Bridge.
Davis was born March 28, 1924, in Alverda and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942.
He served in the Pacific Theater during World War II as a member of the 3rd Marine Division. On Nov. 20, 1943, Davis was killed in the Battle of Piva Forks while defending against a Japanese counterattack against the American landings at Torakina Bay in the Solomon Islands.
• Senate Bill 229, introduced by White, which renames the Route 403 bridge over Dixon Run in Clymer as the PFC Martin J. Popson Memorial Bridge. Popson, of Penn Run, served in the Army in World War II.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest medal, for extraordinary heroism in action during the liberation of Manila.
He also received aPurple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon.
• Senate Bill 231, introduced by White, which renames the Route 422 bridge over Yellow Creek in Cherryhill Township as the PFC Ralph E. Dias Memorial Bridge. Dias, of Shelocta, served in Company D, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force in Vietnam.
On Nov. 12, 1969, Dias, 19, was killed in combat in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Dias 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, the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Commendation with palm and frame, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with device.
• Senate Bill 824, introduced by Pittman, which renames the Route 119 bridge over Yellow Creek in Center Township as the Dr. Patricia Hilliard-Robertson Memorial Bridge.
Hilliard-Robertson lived a life of service to others and as an exemplary role model for women in STEM education. State Rep. Jim Struzzi, R-Indiana, introduced a companion bill, House Bill 2035, in the House of Representatives.
Hilliard-Robertson was born on March 12, 1963, in Indiana and grew up in Homer City. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1985 and the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1989. She then completed a three-year residency in family medicine and was certified by the American Board of Family Practice.
In 1995, Hilliard-Robertson was one of two fellows selected to study aerospace medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, and at the Johnson Space Center, Houston.
Hilliard-Robertson joined the Flight Medicine Clinic at Johnson Space Center in 1997 and served as the chairman of the Bone, Muscle and Exercise Integrated Product Team.
In 1998, NASA selected her for the Astronaut Candidate Training program. Upon completing training, Hilliard-Robertson served as the office representative for the Crew Healthcare System and as crew support astronaut for the International Space Station Expedition-2 Crew.
She died at age 38 on May 24, 2001, in Houston from burn injuries suffered in the crash of a private plane at Wolfe Air Park in Manvel, Texas, on May 22, 2001.