A couple of local lawmakers are hoping to employ a legislative perk rarely exercised by York County officials, naming five area bridges and a traffic circle for Yorkers who died in the line of duty.
Those who would be honored under legislation pending in the House of Representatives are four fallen soldiers, a police officer, and a fire chief.
Under a bill proposed last month, a new bridge at the Loganville interchange of Interstate 83 in Springfield Township would be named the Rodney P. Miller Memorial Bridge. The bill marks the first such request in the 15-year House tenure
of Rep. Ron Miller, R-Jacobus.
Loganville Fire Chief Rodney Miller, no known relation to the representative, was 45 years old when he killed in the line of duty April 27. Police said an alleged drunken driver struck him as he was directing traffic at the scene of a crash on Interstate 83 near the Glen Rock exit.
The death shook the community, and the bridge naming seemed an appropriate means of memorializing a man who spent a lot of time responding to crashes on the interstate, the representative said. The fire chief lived in Springfield Township, a few minutes' drive from the bridge that would bear his name, Ron Miller said.
"I've known the family and Rodney since he was a little boy," he said. "He was just a great person in the community and his death was a tragic event. I'm not in a hurry to name a lot of things, but ... this one is appropriate.
Rodney Miller's widow, Shelly Miller, said the bridge will help to remember a man who was quiet and humble, and didn't like to draw attention to himself.
"I think people in the surrounding community will know and remember Rodney and what that (bridge) stands for."
Fallen soldiers: A second bill, from Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, would designate:
---The bridge on Hanover Road, near its intersection with Lake Road in Spring Grove, as the Cpl. Luke S. Runyan Memorial Bridge.
Runyan, a 2004 graduate of Spring Grove Area High School, was a U.S. Army corporal killed in action in Iraq in February 2008.
---The traffic circle on State Route 116 at Hanover Road and Roths Church Road in Spring Grove as the Officer David D. Tome Memorial Circle. Tome was a Spring Grove graduate and Northern York County Regional Police officer. The 31-year-old was investigating a fatal crash in October 2008 when he was struck by an SUV and killed.
---A bridge on State Route 116 in Spring Grove as the Cameron J. Stambaugh Memorial Bridge. Pfc. Cameron Stambaugh, 20, was one of the six NATO service members killed July 8, 2012 when an armored vehicle he was in was demolished by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
---A bridge on that portion of Canal Road between Intermediate Avenue and Municipal Drive in Dover as the Zachary R. Clouser Memorial Bridge. A 2005 graduate of Dover Area High School, U.S. Army Spc. Zachary Clouser was killed in Adhamiyah, Iraq, on July 18, 2007 when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device and small arms fire, and
---The bridge on State Route 74 between Drawbaugh Avenue and Mill Alley, Dover, as the Sgt. Brett E. Walden Memorial Bridge. Walden, 40, died in Rubiah, Iraq, on Aug. 5, 2005, when a civilian fuel truck collided with his military vehicle while he was performing a convoy mission.
Remembering: Clouser's father, Kevin Clouser of West York, said his son was full of life, outgoing, well-liked, and always pranking people. People will think of him fondly when they see his name posted at the side of the bridge, he said.
"He always had some sort of quirky smile on his face, a grin, like, 'What's going on?'" Clouser said. "As soon as you see that sign, you're going to think of that quirky smile he had."
Clouser's mother, Deb Etheridge of Dover Township, said she was overwhelmed by the idea.
"It just took my breath," she said. "It would mean the world to me. ... I would be thrilled that his name is being seen on a daily basis so they would never forget what he was doing when he died."
Grove said he decided to pursue the legislation after the father of another soldier asked for a name designation for his son.
"We don't tend to name our infrastructure," he said. "It's not a normal thing legislators in York County have done, for some reason. It's a great way to honor our heroes and ensure we never forget their sacrifices. I would rather not do any more, if another bridge means another lost life."
Few names: Earlier this month, Grove's bill (House Bill 1431) passed unanimously out of the House Transportation Committee, where Miller's bill (House Bill 1707) is awaiting a vote.
Miller said he's expecting no opposition to his bill, and Grove said his is likely to pass the entire House in November.
Department of Transportation spokesman Greg Penny said designations are common across the state, though somewhat sparse in York.
The most recent naming in the county was the 2011 naming of Route 462 as the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway.
The next most recent was nine years earlier, with the 2002 designation of the North George Street Bridge in York City.
It was named Gov. George M. Leader Bridge, after the only Yorker to ever become governor of Pennsylvania. He died this past May at the age of 95.
Penny said signs are typically installed within 30 to 60 days after a governor signs the legislation.
Each designation costs about $300, which includes two signs (one facing each direction) and their installations, he said.
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffma firstname.lastname@example.org.