Hubbard renames bridge to honor veterans
HUBBARD — Jesse Regan recalled a series of letters he received from his late great-uncle beginning about 17 years ago chronicling his service in Vietnam, which included how he, like many Vietnam War soldiers, had felt unwelcome upon his return home.
Regan, who served in the U.S. Army from 2004 to 2012, the last year in the Army Reserve, felt anything but unwelcome during a special ceremony Saturday morning in which the Myron Street Bridge was renamed the Hubbard Veterans Bridge.
“It’s heartwarming,” Regan, post commander of Hubbard-based Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3767, said.
Regan recalled that he didn’t know his great-uncle until the two began corresponding when Regan was in basic training. After that, his relative expressed how proud he was of Regan’s decision to serve the nation, and they became like best friends, Regan, who served in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, said.
“This (renaming) process has been years in the making,” said Mayor Benjamin Kyle, who noted the bridge was built as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Projects Administration effort, which was part of the New Deal program.
The latest move was to honor veterans, living and deceased, from all military branches who have any connection to Hubbard, Kyle said, noting that Trumbull County has the most named bridges honoring veterans in Ohio.
The renaming was the latest iteration the bridge has undergone. In the summer and fall of 2020, nearly $1 million of construction was done for safety before the two-span concrete slab bridge was dedicated earlier this year.
The work was an Ohio Department of Transportation project via the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office and was rebuilt at no cost to the city, Kyle explained. An Eastgate Regional Council of Governments grant covered 80 percent of the price tag, with ODOT providing the rest.
Regan called the past year “exceedingly difficult” because of the numerous hardships related to COVID-19, but added that VFW Post 3767’s priorities have remained solid throughout.
“This pandemic has thrown some curveballs at us for sure, but our mission has never changed,” said Regan, who added that those in the military have made countless sacrifices to defend our democracy.
John Raica, commander of Hubbard-based American Legion Post 51, said the bridge will serve as a continuous reminder to those who cross it of the importance veterans have played, and continue to play, to preserve our freedoms. Raica served in the Army from 1959 to 1962 and worked three years in intelligence, he added.
“I’m happy to have this bridge in our own backyard,” J.P. O’Brien, a Post 3767 trustee, said.
He and Post 3767 incoming commander Randy Velez unveiled the small sign that denotes the bridge’s new name.
The city will be hosting its annual traditional Memorial Day procession in person at 10 a.m. Monday. It will begin at Hubbard Union Cemetery, 210 Oakdale Ave. SE, and end at the Hubbard War Memorial, Kyle noted.