Sen. Catharine Young, R,C,I- Olean, was joined by Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R,C,I- Chautauqua County, local officials, community leaders and decorated veterans at a formal ceremony to dedicate the Jamestown Veterans Memorial Bridge. The West Third Street Bridge over Steele Street and the Chadakoin River in Jamestown will now honor all who served their nation.
During a recent ceremony, which took place at the New York State Armory in Jamestown, the new sign was unveiled and the event concluded with a ceremonial walk and drive across the bridge, featuring the 96th Highlanders Pipes & Drums and Patriot Guard Riders.
"Ceremonies like this make me thankful, not only to be an American, but thankful to stand here with so many men and women who fought so bravely to protect our freedom," said Sen. Young. "The fact that many veterans and veterans groups attended this dedication ceremony shows how much this means to the Jamestown community and veterans from all over the area. I am glad that I could be joined by Assemblyman Goodell, Mayor Teresi and leaders in the veterans community to commemorate these selfless patriots."
Led by members of the 96th Highlanders Pipes & Drums, state Sen. Cathy Young, Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Mayor Sam Teresi and the assembled veterans and guests cross the newly dedicated veterans bridge.
"I am proud to honor the many men and women who served in defense of our country and our community," said Assemblyman Goodell. "We must never forget these brave service members, who performed their duties so honorably, and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice. As the father of a marine veteran who served in Iraq, it is with tremendous pride that I join this ceremony today. Our veterans deserve this honor and so much more."
The idea was first brought to Sen. Young and Assemblyman Goodell by Michael Rauh, the Chautauqua County Veterans Services Agency Service Officer and a Gulf War veteran. His letters to their offices were met with eager responses and the two state legislators got to work to pass the legislation. Further assisting their efforts, the Jamestown City Council passed a resolution in support of the bridge dedication.
"No heartfelt thanks we can offer will ever be enough," said Rauh. "No sincere expression of gratitude can assuage the grief of those who lost a loved one. So, how then do we repay such a debt? We remember the sacrifices made on our behalf. We do our best to live good lives and take advantage of the freedom we have been given."
"This is wonderful for all the veterans from our area those who served and are here today, those who served and are no longer with us and those who will serve in the future," said (Ret.) U.S. Army Major General Barclay Wellman. "It is truly an honor and I appreciate all of the work that our state legislators did to make this happen."
"While we are surrounded by many veterans today, I also want to take time to remember veterans who served our country, but are no longer with us," added Sen. Young. "The Chautauqua County community is forever thankful for every veteran who sacrificed so much to keep all of us safe."
"On behalf of the residents of Chautauqua County, I would like to extend a heartfelt 'thank you' to all the veterans and their families," added Assemblyman Goodell. "This bridge will now serve as a token of our great appreciation, and a reminder to all who travel across it of the sacrifices that thousands of men and women have made on behalf of Chautauqua County and our country."
The legislation to name the Jamestown Veterans Memorial Bridge was passed during the 2012 legislative session. The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Young and Assemblyman Goodell, was signed into law on July 3, 2012, by Gov. Cuomo.