For years, U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Stanley Jurgaitis, a member of the American Legion in Monongahela, Washington County, honored fellow soldiers by maintaining a war memorial in the Hazel Kirk section of Carroll. Now it is the Bronze Star recipient's turn to be honored.
Jurgaitis, who died in November 2008 at age 92, will be remembered on Memorial Day with the dedication of a small bridge in his name. The ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m today at the bridge, which carries State Road 2023 over Pigeon Creek in Carroll.
A sign in both directions signifying Jurgaitis' commitment and service to his country and community will be erected and maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The roughly 5-year-old bridge is down the road from the Hazel Kirk war memorial.
State Rep. Peter J. Daley, D-California, sponsored the legislation to name the bridge after Jurgaitis.
"I think we as Americans need to honor those soldiers, public officials and others," Mr. Daley said Thursday. "We thought it would be fitting on Memorial Day, and his family could be there."
After Jurgaitis' service in World War II, he returned to Western Pennsylvania and worked as a coal miner for Bethlehem Mines for more than 20 years. After the mine's closing, he worked for Fisher and Porter Co. in Hatboro for 28 years until his retirement, when he returned to Hazel Kirk.
"He was a living example of what it means to be American and he put his life on the line like so many Americans to serve the country, and he came back and continued to serve the country," Mr. Daley said.
With the help of Mr. Daley, the memorial to local veterans was redone after Jurgaitis' death, said Alan Hupchick, American Legion Post 949 adjutant.
"It represents all the people in Hazel Kirk from the First World War to now," said Mr. Hupchick, 70, of Monongahela "It is a great honor having one of our members being celebrated and commemorated as being a serving member."
Claire Aronson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1964.