The bridge currently under construction over the Lehigh River in Jim Thorpe will be named for Sgt. Andrew J. Baddick, Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) and Sen. John Yudicak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) said today.
Baddick died on Sept. 23, 2003, while trying to save a fellow soldier from his submerged military vehicle in Iraq. The designation is a result of Act 124 of 2014, which was recently signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett.
"A.J. Baddick was a graduate of Jim Thorpe High School and he grew up along the Lehigh River," Heffley said. "This bridge naming is a promise I made to A.J.'s mother and I am glad to finally see it come to fruition."
"You could throw a stone from our house to the river," said Baddick's mother, Ann Adams. "It is where he played growing up and he eventually served as a river guide for Jim Thorpe River Adventure. I am thrilled and so excited to see his life, and service, honored in this way."
Baddick was 26 years old when he was killed in Iraq.
In Jim Thorpe, he served as a volunteer firefighter and member of the Jim Thorpe Ambulance Service.
"Sgt. Baddick was a hero in every sense of the word and he gave his life to protect our freedoms in the aftermath of 9/11," Yudichak said. "This new bridge will be a fitting tribute to Sgt. Baddick and it will serve as a constant reminder of the bravery, courage and patriotism of all of our military heroes."
"He would do anything to help anyone," Ann Adams said. "In his unit, if someone needed something, he'd say, 'my mom will get it for you.' He was a true character."
The bridge to be named after Baddick will replace the Jim Thorpe Memorial Bridge, which was built in 1953. The $28 million project is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2017.
"From the time my son was around five years old, he was on the water," Ann Adams added. "He gave his life in the water. There is no better way to honor his service to our community and nation."