LAKE SHAWNEE -– Mercer Circuit Judge Omar Aboulhosn will lead a Memorial Day ceremony dedicating a bridge in honor of a soldier killed in Iraq.
State Senator Truman Chafin, D-Mingo, and Delegate Thomas Mike Porter, R-Mercer, also will speak at the ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, May 25. The Staff Sgt. Stanley Brian Reynolds Memorial Bridge takes W.Va. 10 across the Bluestone River in the Lake Shawnee area of Mercer County, about a half-mile from the intersection of U.S. 19.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Stanley Brian Reynolds was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he and four others were killed on August 14, 2007, in a helicopter crash in Al Taqqaddum. All five soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, Task Force 49, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
"I am honored to have been asked to participate in this event in memory of Staff Sgt. Reynolds," Aboulhosn said. "Sgt. Reynolds gave his life in defense of our country and our freedoms. Sgt. Reynolds represents so many other men and women who have also given their lives to defend our liberties.
"Staff Sgt. Reynolds will be forever remembered as a hero."
Staff Sgt. Reynolds grew up largely in Rock, Mercer County. Among his survivors was his wife, Jill, and three young daughters, Katelyn, Kristan, and Emily.
At the time of his death, his sister, Lu Reynolds, told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that her brother had attended Matoaka High School and would have graduated in the class of 1988, but the family moved to Statesville, N.C., and he finished high school there.
After graduation, he became an independent owner/operator truck driver.
"That was a good job for a while, but after the price of fuel went real high, it put him out of business," said his uncle, Richard Bailey. "He went to school, earned his surface mining certification and went to work on a strip mining job. He was only there for about a month before he got laid off."
At the time, his wife was pregnant with their third child.
"Here's a guy who was 31 years old, had a wife and two kids already, with another one on the way," Bailey told the newspaper. "When he joined the Army, he joked with me that he was getting a job that he wouldn't get laid off from. But he was really patriotic too. He thought it was the right thing to do."
Highway signs designating the bridge's name will be unveiled during the Memorial Day ceremony. The bridge's new name is the result of Senate Concurrent Resolution 35, introduced by Senator Chafin, which passed the Legislature on April 10.