FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 17, 2012
SCHUMER: SHODDY CONDITIONS OF JAMES WIDENER MEMORIAL BRIDGE IS A DISHONOR TO VIETNAM WAR VETERAN; CALLS ON NYS DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION TO SWIFTLY COMPLETE MAINTENANCE REPAIRS OF BRIDGE IN CHILI
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to prioritize maintenance repairs on the James E. Widener Memorial Bridge in Chili, which has fallen into disrepair. The bridge is named for a Churchville veteran, who served bravely in the Vietnam War and was tragically killed in 1967. The bridge was dedicated to Private First Class Widener in 2007, and has since accumulated a variety of maintenance and repair needs. In order to better serve as a memorial and tribute to James Widener and his incredible commitment and sacrifice to our nation, Schumer is calling on the NYSDOT to move forward expeditiously with repairs of the bridge, a project that is currently in their queue and awaiting completion.
In his letter to the New York State Department of Transportation official, Schumer highlighted that the James E. Widener Memorial Bridge serves as a testament to the honor and commitment this man has shown the United States, and that the bridge should reflect the quality and caliber of his service.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter appears below:
New York State Department of Transportation
1530 Jefferson Road
Dear Mr. Traver,
I recently received a letter from one of my constituents, regarding the current state of disrepair at the James E. Widener Memorial Bridge. The bridge, which crosses over Black Creek on Scottsville- Chili Road, is a tribute to a lifelong resident of Churchville who gave his life fighting for this country and I am deeply saddened to hear that the bridge is in need of maintenance.
At the young age of 18, James E. Widener left Churchville Chili High School to bravely serve his country in Vietnam.After being surrounded by heavy enemy fire during a mission, Widener’s helicopter crashed on June 11, 1967. It took 39 long years for his remains to be identified and finally in 2006 he was given a proper military burial at Arlington National Cemetery. The James E. Widener Memorial Bridge is a testament to the honor and commitment this young man has shown our nation. It is only fitting that the state of the bridge reflects the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country. I understand that the New York State Department of Transportation must balance many funding priorities in the region but I ask that you attend to the bridge’s maintenance needs as soon as possible so it can again show proper respect to his life and the community from which he came.
I thank you for your attention to this request. Please don’t hesitate to contact my Rochester office at 585-263-5866with any questions.
United States Senator