CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – On Wednesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine approved naming 40 commemorative highways and bridges throughout the state.
Three bridges on that list are in Canfield, where residents are now beaming with pride.
The drive for this started two years ago when a group wanted to put flags on the bridges but found out the fencing wouldn’t support them.
“We had to reinvent ourselves to figure out a way to honor our veterans and, of course, expand it into first responders as well,” said Mahoning County Court Judge Molly Johnson.
The Route 46 bridge over Interstate 76 will be named in honor of World War II Veteran Lew Speece, who served in a Marines Tank Battalion. Just like a lot of veterans, he saw a lot and what he shared was worth hearing.
“He would say some of the interesting stories about floating tanks ashore, that was something they didn’t try before and it was mediocre successful because they lost a few,” said grandson Doug Speece, Jr.
Doug is proud that his grandfather started the War Vet Museum in Canfield to keep the memory alive of other veterans. He’s also proud that Lew’s legacy will live on with the Lew Speece Memorial Bridge.
“I think he would be proud of it. I know the family is. It’s an honor to have his service to the country and the community with this recognized by a bridge built like this,” Doug said.
Two other bridges are getting names. The Canfield First Responders Bridge is over I-76, along Herbert Road. It recognizes police, firefighters and other people who answer the calls for emergencies.
The Canfield Armed Forces Bridge is over Route 224, going over Route 11.
“That gets a lot of traffic, going on Route 11,” said American Legion Post 177 Commander Mike Kubitza. “It’ll be nice knowing that is an Armed Forces bridge representing our current service members as well as our prior service member veterans.”
There’s one more bridge in Canfield that could get named, and a person or group could be nominated for that honor in the future.