HUBBARD – Jesse Regan recalled a series of letters he received from his late great-uncle when he was recording his service in Vietnam about 17 years ago. That included how, like many Vietnam War soldiers, he had felt unwelcome on his return home.
Regan, who served in the U.S. Army from 2004 to 2012, his final year in the Army Reserve, felt far from undesirable during a special Saturday morning ceremony that renamed Myron Street Bridge the Hubbard Veterans Bridge.
“It’s heartwarming” Regan, mail commander of the Hubbard-based Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3767, said.
Regan remembered not knowing his great-uncle until the two started corresponding when Regan was in basic training. Afterward, his relative expressed how proud he was of Regan’s decision to serve the nation and they became like best friends, said Regan, who served in Iraq in 2005 and 2006.
“This (renaming) process took years” said Mayor Benjamin Kyle, noting that the bridge was built as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s efforts to manage work projects that were part of the New Deal program.
The final step was to honor living and deceased veterans from all branches of the military with any connection to Hubbard, Kyle said, noting that Trumbull County has the most famous bridges honoring veterans in Ohio.
The renaming was the last iteration the bridge went through. In the summer and fall of 2020, almost $ 1 million was built for safety reasons before the double-track concrete slab bridge was inaugurated earlier this year.
The work was a project by the Ohio Department of Transportation through the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office, and it was being rebuilt for the city at no cost, Kyle explained. A grant from the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments covered 80 percent of the price, with ODOT paying the rest.
Regan called last year “Extremely difficult” due to the numerous difficulties associated with COVID-19, however, added that VFW Post 3767’s priorities have remained consistently solid.
“This pandemic may have thrown some curveballs at us, but our mission has never changed.” said Regan, adding that those in the military have made countless sacrifices to defend our democracy.
John Raica, commander of the Hubbard-based American Legion Post 51, said the bridge will continually remind those who cross it of the importance of and continue to play veterans in safeguarding our freedoms. Raica served in the army from 1959 to 1962 and worked in the secret service for three years, he added.
“I’m glad to have this bridge in our own back yard.” JP O’Brien, a Post 3767 trustee, said.
He and incoming post 3767 commander Randy Velez unveiled the small sign marking the bridge’s new name.
The city will personally host its annual Memorial Day traditional procession on Monday at 10 a.m. It is located in Hubbard Union Cemetery, 210 Oakdale Ave. SE, begin and end at the Hubbard War Memorial, noted Kyle.
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