Today marks one year since former Greene County Sheriff Brian Tennant died at age 35.
Pennsylvania Rep. Pam Snyder proposed House Bill 2088 in November that would name a bridge and two roads after three local fallen heroes, including Tennant. This bill passed the house unanimously on Jan. 21 and now sits in the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee.
According to H.B. 2088, the Department of Transportation will name the interchange of the Mon-Fayette Expressway with Exit 22 in Redstone Township as the Pfc. Joseph Frank Duda Memorial Interchange, the interchange of Market Street and Spring Street in Brownsville as the Cpl. Denny Ray Easter Memorial Interchange and a bridge on South Porter Street over the South Fork Tenmile Creek in Waynesburg as the Sheriff Brian A. Tennant Memorial Bridge.
“I am honored and humbled that my colleagues unanimously approved my bill to honor these local heroes,” Snyder said in a recent news release. “Each one of them deserves the utmost recognition for their service and sacrifices to our community and to our country.”
Duda served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and Easter served as an infantryman in the Vietnam War. Both of these men died in the line of duty.
“This bill is a way that we can pay tribute,” Nathan Regotti, chief of staff for Rep. Pam Snyder, said. “Those guys went overseas as young men and never got to come home and see their family again.”
Among the three men honored, Tennant is the outlier with his the more recent and local death. Regotti said that Tennant’s is the first transportation memorial Snyder’s office has proposed that was not for a veteran killed overseas.
“Sheriff Tennant was the first [memorial] we’ve done that wasn’t for a veteran,” Regotti said. “But we thought that he has done plenty of work for our community as a police officer, as a firefighter and as our sheriff.”
In 2010, Tennant was hailed a hero when he saved several lives in a house fire in Waynesburg that killed two children, according to the bill. He was elected sheriff in 2013, then re-elected in 2017.
Regotti said Tennant was a personal friend of both himself and Snyder. His family, friends and community all wanted Tennant to be honored in some way.
“His mom really wanted something done just so her son could be remembered, and her grandsons could drive by [the bridge] some day when they’re teenagers and look at that sign and remember their dad,” Regotti said.
The bill also dictates that signs be erected to display the name of the memorial to both sides of traffic.
“So this, just naming something after them, it’s not enough by any means,” Regotti said. “But it’s one way that we can honor what they have done.”
These three locations will be given a name for the first time once the bill is put into action, and will stay memorialized in the men’s names forever.
“Whether on foreign soil or in their own communities, our brave men and women have put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of their friends, families and neighbors,” Snyder noted in the memorandum. “There are no words or deeds that can fully express our deepest gratitude for their service and sacrifice.”